The Astros bullpen blew up again, and it was the same Braves player sabotaging their hopes of avoiding a sweep in Atlanta. Brian McCann hit a game-tying homerun in the ninth inning, and a two run walkoff homer in the 11th to beat the Astros 3-1 and sweep their two game series.
McCann’s ninth-inning homerun spoiled an otherwise stellar outing from Wandy Rodriguez who pitched eight innings of five hit shutout ball before turning a 1-0 lead over to the team’s beleaguered bulllpen. Rodriguez had thrown 113 pitches before Brad Mills pulled him out.
Mark Melancon, filling in for the injured Brandon Lyon, had two outs and two strikes on the Braves pinch hitter before McCann drove a long fly ball over the wall in centerfield.
Jeff Fulchino relieved Melancon and, after a scoreless tenth inning, gave up the game winner on a hanging slider that McCann slapped just inside the right field foul pole. The Astros bullpen has converted just five save opportunities this season while blowing a major-league-worst 11 saves.
Brett Wallace accounted for the Astros only run, a solo homer off Braves starter Derek Lowe in the top of the 7th.
The Astros had multiple chances to increase their lead but they couldn’t come through in the clutch, leaving the bases loaded in the eighth and 11th innings.
The Astros move on to St. Louis now, where they’ll open a two-game series with the Cardinals Wednesday night. Bud Norris will try to end the Astros three game losing skid, as he faces Cards right hander Kyle Lohse.