Houston Takes 2 of 3 in Toronto

May 5: Houston 8, Toronto 4

Jimmy Key had gotten off to an excellent start for Toronto and was probably due for a less-than great outing. It was far from a disaster, but the Astros built up a 5-3 lead against him in seven innings. Reliever Kelvim Escobar allowed another three to Houston in the eighth to put the game out of reach.

Houston manager Bill Virdon eschewed by-the-book closer usage when he called on Billy Wagner, his strongest reliever, for a high-leverage situation in the bottom of the seventh. Toronto had already gotten within a run of Houston in the inning, and starter Roy Oswalt had runners on the corners with two outs. Virdon brought in Wagner, who made his manager look good by quickly retiring Tony Fernandez on a groundout.

Bob Watson drove two homers for Houston.

                  R H BB
HOU 301 000 130 - 8 5  5
TOR 000 030 100 - 4 7  6

HR: B. Watson-2 (4), L. Berkman (6), C. Delgado (6)

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
R. Oswalt  6.2  4  4  1  5  9  
J. Key     7.0  5  5  2  3  4 

HOU 11-17, TOR 12-16

May 6: Houston 6, Toronto 0

Juan Guzman’s horrible, no good, very bad start to the season continued. His 10.93 ERA remains the worst among qualified pitchers. Cito Gaston gave no indication after the game whether or not Guzman’s spot in the rotation is in jeopardy. Gaston doesn’t have any super attractive options to replace him with, but could be forced to give someone else a shot if Guzman’s struggles continue.

Nolan Ryan, on the other hand, has been off to a good start for Houston and it got even better as he tossed his first shutout. Ryan walked just one while stacking up 13 Ks.

                  R H BB
HOU 020 300 010 - 6 8  3
TOR 000 000 000 - 0 7  1

HR: none

starters    IP  R ER HR BB SO
N. Ryan    9.0  0  0  0  1 13  
J. Guzman  7.1  6  6  0  3  7 

HOU 12-17, TOR 12-17

May 7: Toronto 7, Houston 4

Toronto managed to avoid a sweep thanks to the shocking continued success of their fifth starter, Doyle Alexander (2.93 ERA), and a five run outburst in the second inning that featured doubles by Carlos Delgado and Rance Mulliniks and a triple by Tony Fernandez.

                  R  H BB
HOU 020 000 200 - 4  9  0
TOR 050 200 00x - 7 10  8

HR: E. Whitt (4)

starters     IP  R ER HR BB SO
M. Scott      3  7  6  1  1  1  
D. Alexander  7  4  2  0  0  1 

HOU 12-18, TOR 13-17
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