Harrell's 6-hitter leads Astros over Padres 1-0
HOUSTON (AP) — Lucas Harrell hadn't finished cleaning out his ears from a cream pie to the face that he received after pitching his first complete game Wednesday night.
But first he stopped for a fist bump with left fielder J.D. Martinez and a hearty pat on catcher Chris Snyder's shoulders — a nod to the pair of Astros who made his big night possible.
Harrell pitched a six-hitter and Martinez threw out a runner at the plate in the ninth inning to preserve Houston's 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres.
"You can't say more about that throw in the last inning by J.D.," Harrell said. "It's a big situation, he throws it right on the money and Snyder makes a great scoop and tag. It's one of those things where you just throw the ball, let them hit it and let everybody else do (the work)."
Matt Downs homered and Harrell finished it off by striking out Nick Hundley with the bases loaded.
"To see him pitch like he has and be able to do what he did tonight in a 1-0 game and to be able to get that complete game and throw like he did, that's pretty cool," Houston manager Brad Mills said. "That's really cool."
San Diego manager Bud Black was impressed with Harrell's work.
"It was another night of pressing them as best we could without scoring," Black said. "They executed a play in the ninth and beat us. We didn't lose that game. The Astros beat us."
The drive by Downs was one of only two hits by the Astros, who couldn't get anything else going against starter Clayton Richard (5-8).
"Baseball is a funny game," Richard said. "Sometimes you pitch well and don't get the results you want. But that just goes to show how much of a team game this is. You have to have everything going to get wins."
Harrell (7-6) allowed four hits through the first eight innings, but things got dicey for the rookie after that.
Chase Headley singled to start the ninth and San Diego had runners at first and second with one out when Logan Forsythe singled into shallow left. Pinch-runner Alexi Amarista headed for home, but Martinez scooped up the ball and fired to Snyder in time.
Martinez wasn't sure if he had him when he launched the throw.
"I knew the guy was fast," he said. "I was just lucky that my outfield coach put me in good position, brought me in a little bit and gave me a much better chance to get to the ball quicker and make a much better throw on it."