Roy Oswalt, the Houston Astros and the fans at Minute Maid Park were hoping Oswalt would pitch like his old self, but the Florida Marlins rocked the Astros’ ace in a 10-6 Houston loss on Friday night.
Oswalt (0-3) gave up eight runs, four homers, nine hits, and struck out six in four innings. The Astros’ ace is concerned with his performance.
"Certainly I am. I have never gone through this before," Oswalt said. "Hopefully, it will change."
Houston manager Cecil Cooper said he is not concerned with Oswalt’s health but does not know why he is having trouble.
"If I knew, I'd tell you. I have no clue. No clue," Cooper said. "Going into this game, I thought it was his best stuff. I don't know what happened."
The Astros starting pitching has yet to get a win in the 2008 season. After Friday’s game, Houston’s starters have a combined record of 0-5 and a 4.94 ERA.
Houston started the scoring in the first inning. After Michael Bourn grounded out, Mark Loretta walked. Lance Berkman doubled to deep center, which scored Loretta. Miguel Tejada singled to left, which moved Berkman to third.
Geoff Blum drove in Berkman with a single to right putting the Astros in front 2-0. Tejada scored on Florida first baseman Mike Jacobs’ error, increasing the lead to 3-0.
The Marlins got going in the third. Robert Andino led off with a single to right. After Ricky Nolasco struck out on a foul bunt and Hanley Ramirez grounded out, Alfredo Amezaga singled and drove in Andino. Jeremy Hermida tied the game with a home run to right, scoring Amezaga. Jacobs singled and scored when Jorge Cantu homered to left, making it 5-3 Marlins.
Florida struck again in the fourth inning. Mike Rabelo led off with a home run to left to increase the lead to 6-3. After Andino struck out, Nolasco singled to right. Ramirez homered to right to give the Marlins an 8-3 advantage, drawing some loud boos from the Minute Maid crowd.
Florida manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Marlins got some good pitches to hit.
"We hung in there and made him throw some balls over the plate and swung the bat pretty well," Gonzalez said. "I'm glad we got out of there with the win. It's tough to beat Roy."
The Marlins set a team record with six home runs in the game. Hermida said he was surprised the barrage came against Oswalt.
"Roy Oswalt is one of the best pitchers in the game," he said. "His numbers aren't showing that this year, but he's still one of the best. Every time you face him, it's a tough day."
Nolasco (1-0) got his first win. He pitched five innings, gave up seven hits, six runs (five earned), two walks and struck out two. Nolasco had not started a game since May 17 of last year, but he was pleased with his performance Friday night.
"I was a little anxious there in the first," Nolasco said. "I tried to do a little too much a little too quickly, but I tried to settle down after that, and I was able to do that."
The Astros (3-8) play the Marlins again, Saturday at 6:05 pm CST. Brandon Backe (0-1) gets the start for the Astros against the Marlins’ Andrew Miller (0-1).