. . . I will remember youuuuuuu . . . .will you remember meeeee . . .
— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) August 24, 2015
The Astros are making a habit out of this walk-off thing.
Jason Castro launched a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning this afternoon to give the Astros a 3-2 win over the Dodgers and complete a three-game sweep. It was their fourth walk-off win in their last eight games.
The Dodgers got a heck of an effort from Clayton Kershaw, who threw eight brilliant innings while allowing just one run and striking out 10 batters. However, Carlos Correa led off the bottom of the ninth with a single against closer Kenley Jansen and eventually stole second base before Marwin Gonzalez delivered a game-tying single with two outs. Castro ended things with a one-out homer against Chris Hatcher in the 10th, which was confirmed after replay review. You can watch the game-winning homer below.
The Astros sit at 69-56 on the year, with a four-game lead over the Rangers in the American League West. The fading Angels are 5 1/2 games back. As for the 67-56 Dodgers, they have lost five straight and things are starting to look dicey. If the Giants win tonight, they’ll be just a half-game back in the NL West. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are five games out.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers was optioned to Double-A Corpus Christi on August 3 after failing to make it out of the first inning in a disastrous start against the Rangers. Houston’s braintrust wanted the 21-year-old to take a breather and come back ready to assist in the club’s final push for its first ever American League West title. That push is now on.
McCullers — owner of a cool 3.17 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 79 strikeouts over his first 76 2/3 major league frames — has been recalled from the Double-A level and will start against Clayton Kershaw in Sunday’s series finale against the visiting Dodgers.
As of Sunday morning, they hold a four-game lead in the AL West.
In the NL West, the Dodgers’ lead over the Giants is just 1 1/2.
Astros starter Mike Fiers no-hit the Dodgers on Friday night, but his achievement was quickly downplayed on social media when an image showing what appeared to be a shiny substance on the inside of the right-hander’s glove. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly never questioned it, nor did anyone else on the team, during the game.
Asked about the alleged substance after the game, Fiers said, “It could be different lighting or something,” as Jose de Jesus Ortiz reports.
Even after the fact, the Dodgers aren’t interested in pursuing the matter. Via Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times:
“I don’t want to take anything away from his night,” outfielder Carl Crawford said.
Manager Don Mattingly also viewed the social media-driven controversy as a non-issue, saying, “I think it sounds like you’re whining if you look at it and talk about it.”
The consensus around the clubhouse was that a significant number of pitchers use something to improve their grip on the ball.
“I think it’s pretty much accepted, unless it’s blatantly obvious somebody’s doing it,” Mattingly said.
Fiers donated his cap and one of the balls he threw during the no-hitter to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Those and other items were authenticated, as Astros manager of authentication Mike Acosta tweeted on Friday night.
Yankees starter Michael Pineda was suspended for 10 games last season when he was caught using a “foreign substance” on his neck.
Former major league catcher John Baker, when asked to cite the percentage of pitchers who liked using a foreign substance, said, “100%.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy is hoping to get second baseman Joe Panik back from the disabled list during the first week of September, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Panik has been out since August 3 due to inflammation in his lower back.
Panik was hitting .309/.374/.443 with seven home runs and 35 RBI in 423 plate appearances prior to the injury. The Giants were among the teams interested in Chase Utley, who has since landed with the Dodgers. In Panik’s absence, the Giants have had to rely on Ehire Adrianza and Kelby Tomlinson.