From the sixth inning on, the Astros played Thursday with intention of winning a 1-0 game. When they were tied, they played for one run to the detriment of a potential big inning. When they led, they put everything on preventing the tying run.
And it worked.
The decisions by Brad Mills, while they certainly could be argued, seemed to pay off and going by the final scoreboard alone did pay off.
In a tie game in the bottom of the sixth, No. 8 hitter Humberto Quintero went to the plate, and with pitcher Bud Norris at 116 pitches, lefty pinch-hitter Joe Inglett went to the on-deck circle. But when Quintero reached first base with nobody out, Inglett was called back and Norris sent up to sacrifice.
With two singles hitters coming up in Michael Bourn and Angel Sanchez, the Astros wanted to need just one single in two chances to drive home the run rather than two singles in three chances. It was a classic trade-off. The sacrifice could go wrong, so assuming the one single in two chances is dangerous, and even if successful as it was, it is a play for one run that dampens the chances of a big inning.
Mills also said after the game that if the Astros hadn't taken the lead, they were considering leaving him in for an out or two.
But Norris got the bunt down, and Bourn followed up with a single to tie the game. While a subsequent steal and walk tease that there could have been a big inning (dangerous to assume any future results), the Astros got what they were playing for, the one run.
Astros' 1-0 win doubles as a philosophy lesson
Houston Chronicle | Apr 15