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AZ 7, Astros 8 - A Game Only Its Mother Could Love...

Record: 55-54. Change on last season: +3

Take your pick: which team deserves less to lose? The side who handed the opposition eleven walks? Or the one which left fifteen men on base? Was that an ugly game, or what? The Diamondbacks blew three leads, the Astros one as well. And even holding a two-run ninth inning lead, Houston ended up having to yank their closer, the tying run having reached third base. Five home runs, thirty hits, forty-six baserunners. "Offensive baseball," to be sure - and you can take that either way.

Let's be blunt: Miguel Batista was horrible. 4.2 innings, six hits, seven walks - "Maybe the worst I've ever done," Batista said. Not quite: just the worst for a very, very long time. Almost nine years, in fact, since September 12, 1997 when he handed out nine free passes. Given this, that he escaped allowing only five earned runs is a miracle. All five innings he pitched, the Astros got men to third base, and either scored or left the bases loaded.

However, Batista never quite buckled, and it helped that Oswalt's previous mastery of the Diamondbacks - he came in having won all five starts against us, with an 0.95 ERA - evaporated, as he allowed twelve hits and a walk in six innings. While he was still able to leave with a 5-4 lead, that vanished before the Astros bullpen got the first out, on a Jackson single and Estrada homer. But back came Houston, using the long ball, smacking three solo four-baggers off Lyon and Pena. The last was the real back-breaker, since the man who delivered it, Taveras, hadn't hit one in 739 at-bats.

Two runs down in the ninth, it was Arizona's turn to come back. A single and three walks drove in one run, and left the bases loaded for pinch-hit hero Carlos Quentin. However, this time, Q wasn't quite able to come up with the goods, and struck out to give Houston a victory they scarcely deserved. Though, to be fair, neither did the Diamondbacks - if the entire game could be struck from the record, it would probably be for the best.

That's probably what our pitching staff would think, anyway. After Batista left, Koplove came in and ended the fifth inning with the bases loaded. He didn't allow any runs in his two innings of work, but did surrender three hits and two walks. He was bailed out in the seventh inning by Vizcaino, who got the final out there. However, Lyon blew the save by allowing a home-run in the eighth, and then the previous reliable Tony Pena - who came in with an 0.84 ERA - allowed two more blasts, and left with the ERA up to 2.31, taking the loss.

Our hitters, however, were probably fairly happy, though as noted, we left plenty of men on base ourselves. Tracy had four hits; Jackson three, plus a walk; Hudson and Drew two each, plus a walk; and Estrada and LuGon two hits apiece, though the latter was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double. So all told, Green and Byrnes were the only starting position players not to have multi-hit games, and we did outhit the Astros 16-14. It was a combination of their four homers, plus the walks, which lost us this one.

For reasons noted yesterday, it was a very weird 12 hours, and things are likely to remain strange, and with my attention largely diverted elsewhere, for the rest of the weekend. I apologize for this, and hope you'll bear with me until things settle down. Thanks to flyingdutchman and William K for their appearance in the belated GameDay Thread on Friday: I should be able to get today's one up in plenty of time for first pitch later on.

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