Astros keep winning despite pair of errors
Hinch able to shrug off miscues by defensively sound infeld
HOUSTON -- The Astros had one of their shakiest games defensively Sunday at Minute Maid Park, but overcame a pair of errors on the infield to rally to beat the Mariners, 7-6, for their 10th consecutive win.
In addition to their stellar pitching and their power-driven offense, the Astros have played well defensively. Perhaps that's why manager A.J. Hinch was able to shrug off Sunday's costly miscues.
"Any time you give extra opportunities to guys, you feel like they can burn you, and it did a little bit," Hinch said. "There were a couple there we certainly gave them a little more opportunity to get back into, but we've been playing so well I'm not going to overreact to a couple of tough innings."
Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth threw a ball that clipped a runner and rolled into the dugout, allowing a runner to score from third base. Jonathan Villar, getting the start at third, dropped a throw after Rickie Weeks had been caught between second and third, allowing Weeks to score the tying run in the seventh.
Video: [email protected]: Villar's error allows Mariners to tie game
Still, the Astros' defense has been solid this year. According to ESPN, the Astros' defense had converted 81.4 percent of ground balls into outs entering Sunday, which was the highest percentage in baseball. Some of that is a product of the Astros' belief in advanced analytics that has put infielders in better positions to field grounders, but Hinch said the work coach Rich Dauer has put in has been invaluable.
"That's part of the clean baseball I've tried to remind [the players] of," Hinch said. "When you catch the ball, Richie always says 'play catch.' It's limited the opportunities of traffic on the bases."
Of the 13 errors the Astros committed in their first 25 games, eight have been on the field, including four by Villar. Starting second baseman Jose Altuve and starting third baseman Luis Valbuena have been error-free.
"It's a cleanliness you want out of your team," Hinch said. "This game is hard enough to get outs when you're not providing extra baserunners for them. Give Richie a lot of credit, give our infielders a lot of credit. We have a nice infield program. We preach clean baseball. As long as we keep it that way, I'll be happy."