Cosart logged seven innings and flashed exceptional control for a
sixth consecutive start and right fielder George Springer bashed his
team-leading 15th home run as Houston averted a series sweep with a
6-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at Minute Maid Park.
Cosart (8-5) walked two batters in seven innings, extending his
string of starts with two or fewer walks to six. He labored with
control throughout his rookie season in 2013 and issued four walks
in four of his first 10 starts this year. But in five June starts,
Cosart walked just seven in 34 2/3 innings while pitching at least 6
2/3 innings in each.
"He said if I can cut down on the walks, and obviously everyone's
been saying that, I'm going to be a lot more successful and so far
so good," Cosart said of Astros pitching coach Brent Strom.
"When I'm throwing strikes, I have a lot more confidence and
obviously that's what they've been preaching, and with the
mechanical stuff I've been doing I have a lot more confidence in
throwing strikes and just being able to trust my stuff and attack
the hitters and know I've got a really good defense behind me that's
going to make a lot of plays for me."
The Braves (40-38) scratched across their lone run in the first
inning when center fielder B.J. Upton singled, stole second base and
advanced to third on a throwing error by Astros catcher Jason Castro
before scoring on a sacrifice fly by second baseman Tommy La Stella.
Cosart faced the minimum in his next three innings before darting in
and out of jams in the fifth and seventh innings. His proved
especially elusive in his final inning, retiring left fielder Justin
Upton, third baseman Chris Johnson and shortstop Andrelton Simmons
in order after designated hitter Evan Gattis doubled and right
fielder Jason Heyward walked to open the seventh.
"I tell you, that seventh inning there again you're talking about
maturity," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Last year in that
situation, we may not have gotten the result of him finishing that
inning or it may have been some type of desire to have someone else
finish that inning.
"But at no point did I think that he wasn't going to finish it and
that's a credit to the maturation that's taken place and his
development and his ability to continue to make pitches even once
the inning became stressful."
The Astros (34-46) erased a 1-0 deficit when first baseman Jon
Singleton doubled home second baseman Jose Altuve in the first
inning. They turned on the power in the fifth and seventh innings,
with third baseman Matt Dominguez blasting a three-run homer off
Braves left-hander Mike Minor (2-5) for a 5-1 lead before Springer
lined a solo shot to left-center field off reliever Juan Jaime with
two outs in the seventh.
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Minor was particularly remorseful of his mistake to Dominguez, an
0-2 fastball that crept back over the heart of the plate. His
two-out walk to Springer set the stage for Dominguez to deliver the
"I think I was 0-2 to Altuve and made a decent pitch up and he still
hit it," Minor said. "And then to walk Springer. And then I made two
OK pitches to Dominguez and I look back on it and a two-seamer ran
back over the middle of the plate and he cheated a little bit and
Houston snapped a four-game skid with the win and scored more than
five runs in a game for the first time since its 7-3 victory over
the Tampa Bay Rays on June 14. The Braves managed a series win on
the heels of a split of their four-game series in Washington.
Atlanta opens a four-game set in Philadelphia on Friday.
"We're above .500 on this road trip," Justin Upton said. "It's going
to be important for us to go into Philly and try to win that one
also. A split in DC, a series win here and a series win in Philly,
going back home we should be really confident."
NOTES: The Astros selected RHP Jose Veras to the active roster from
Triple-A Oklahoma City and outrighted RHP Kyle Farnsworth off the
active roster. Farnsworth, who posted a 6.17 ERA in 16 appearances
with the Astros, will opt for free agency. Veras was 0-4 with 19
saves last season with the Astros. ... Astros RHP Jarred Cosart
lowered his ERA to 2.11 when facing an opponent for the first time.
... Braves 1B Freddie Freeman was in the starting lineup despite
being hit on the right elbow by a pitch from Astros LHP Darin Downs
on Wednesday night. Freeman has started all 78 games this season.
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