Singleton's blast caps Astros' ninth-inning rally
Peacock exits early, but 'pen strong as Indians' errors aid Houston late
CLEVELAND -- Brad Peacock was pitching perhaps the best game of his season before leaving after the fifth with a right forearm injury. But the Astros' relievers picked right up where he left off, and the offense took advantage of multiple costly errors by the Indians as the Astros won, 5-1, Friday night.
The win moved the Astros to 5-3 in their grueling 10-game road trip.
"That's what winning ballclubs do," said first baseman Jon Singleton. "When other teams are making small mistakes like that, other teams capitalize and come out with the W."
Houston was able to take the lead on a series of errors by baseball's worst defensive team. Tied at 1 in the ninth, Chris Carter walked with one out. Dexter Fowler grounded to first, but Carlos Santana, trying to turn the double play, sailed the throw over Jose Ramirez's head, allowing Carter to advance to third.
With Jason Castro up, Fowler took off for second. But Indians catcher Roberto Perez skipped the throw and the ball bounced into right field, allowing pinch-runner Gregorio Petit to score.
After Castro and Marwin Gonzalez reached, Singleton really broke it open with a three-run homer to left, his 12th of the season. All four runs were unearned, but the Astros were able to take advantage of what was given to them in a game where, for a while at least, offense was coming at an extreme premium.
"Any time you look at obviously a four-run lead instead of a one-run lead, that is a huge cushion for our bullpen," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "But just for [Singleton] personally and his confidence level ... it's at-bats like that that kind of gets him to buy in."
Singleton saw the home run as a sign of the work he's been putting in finally starting to pay off.
"Every time I go up there I try and hit a ball hard," he said. "Sometimes you don't do that and you still gotta go up there and do your job. It's definitely nice to know all the hard work is not wasted."
Peacock was dealing through five innings, giving up just one run on two hits, striking out four and walking no one. He came out for the sixth and threw a few warmup pitches before assistant athletic trainer Rex Jones and Porter came to check on him, leading to Porter's call to the bullpen.
"In the second inning [the right forearm] just kind of really started to hurt a little bit and just got worse as the game went on," Peacock said. "I iced it already, it already feels a lot better. Just keep a close eye on it."
Taking into account that he entered Friday 0-2 with a 10.50 ERA over his last four starts, Friday's outing, before the injury, was a considerable step in the right direction for the struggling right-hander.
"He was throwing the ball about as good as he's thrown all year," Porter said. "He did a tremendous job of pitching to the inner third of the plate, and did a great job of pitching to the top of the strike zone. His command of all his pitches was outstanding."
It took nearly the entire game, but the Astros finally displayed their potent second-half offense. Going into Friday, Houston had scored the most runs in the Majors since the All-Star break with 145, but it was held in check in a 3-0 loss to New York on Thursday, and again by Carlos Carrasco on Friday. Carrasco, who gave up one run in six innings, has only given up one run in his last three starts after being reinserted into the Indians' rotation.
Houston took a 1-0 lead in the fifth after Gonzalez led off with a solo home run to right off Carrasco.
But the Indians answered right back in the bottom of the inning when Zach Walters homered in nearly the same spot to tie it at 1. To that point, Peacock was cruising, retiring 12 in a row.
Astros relievers were also aided by the Indians' equally baffling decisions on the basepaths. In the eighth, Mike Aviles, pinch-hitting for Lonnie Chisenhall, led off with a single against Tony Sipp. Tyler Holt, also pinch-hitting, bunted to Sipp, who turned and threw to second, but Aviles was called safe.
Aviles on an intended bunt was caught too far off second and tagged out on a rundown near third base, moving Holt to second with one out. Holt then tried to steal third, but was thrown out by Castro, fizzling out the Indians' rally.
"The game kind of, I guess you can say, sped up for one inning there and the ball went moving around the diamond a little bit," Porter said. "I felt like our guys did a good job of being aggressive and took advantage of some mistakes in which the other team made."