A sneaky hot day at the ballpark with overcast skies for the first half of the game. I didn’t hear the announced attendance but it was less than 4000 with lots of empty seats on the 3rd base (visitors) side.
Jeff Mathis drove the ball under the glove of Matt Downs at 2B for a lead-off single in the third. Jose Bautista took a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall for a 2 run HR. I watched it sail out and was on my feet before it left the stadium. (Gotta have confidence, right?.) Jose hit a solo HR in the 5th over the fence in dead centre. I didn’t see it go but it sounded really nice off the bat. He looked pretty locked in today – perhaps because the Houston pitchers were not busting him inside as much.
Adam Lind dropped a single in the second to shallow left and again to left-centre in the third. Legitimate hits but not driven all that hard although coming off a major-league LHP in Zach Duke there is some optimism to be had.
Travis Snider had a towering popup to the shortstop to end the second. The solo HR in the fourth was a beauty.
In the 7th, Yunel Escobar lead off with a sharp hit single past the 2B and Luis Valbuena pinch-ran. Omar Vizquel lined up the middle. Rajai Davis flied out to right field and Valbuena tagged up and advanced to 3B. David Cooper hit a hard liner to centre scoring Valbuena. Mike McCoy bunted (bunted?!?) and made it to first on a fielder’s choice as Vizquel was caught in a run-down coming home. Anthony Gose struck out swinging to end the inning. Still some work to be done in this sort of situation.
Dustin McGowan wnet to a full count on the lead-off batter. Otherwise he was looking like the Dustin we (hope we) remember; including what appeared to be a very effective change. After the error by Kelly Johnson trying to pick a ball to his right, and a hard single by Chris Johnson, he was able to get Brett Wallace to ground into a 4-6-3 DP to escape without any damage. And a little redemption for KJ. (And that trade looks better very game.
I was surprised by Aaron Laffey – nothing flashy but he’s effective. Two ground outs and a strike out in the second. Consecutive singles to start the third but able to get a ground out and two strike outs to strand both runners. And in the fifth, he gave up a two-out single but got three outs with ground balls on the infield.
Omar Vizquel made a great play in the 7th on a ball hit deep in the "hole" at 2B (i.e. shallow right field) showing great range and a nice throw for the first out.
Edwin Encarnacion was ok at 3B making all the plays. He fielded his position, charging one ball and staying back on another reading the hop correctly. The throws to 1B were on target. Without the pressure of playing there everyday, EE can likely be an effective option for an occasional start at 3B.