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San Francisco Giants Bring Houston Astros Back Down to Earth

CHICAGO - MAY 16: Starting pitcher Roy Oswalt #44 of the Houston Astros delivers the ball against the Chicago Cubs on May 16, 2009 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs defeated the Astros 5-4. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Richard ZowieCorrespondent IJuly 6, 2009

You figure the Houston Astros would be soaring into the stratosphere as they approached .500 in the N.L. Comedy Central and with a few people going to the All-Star Game.

But before they got too excited, the Cosmonauts were brought down to earth by the Jolly Black and Orange Giants. In the series, the Astros were shut out twice in the three-game series. Houston did manage to rough up former teammate, recent 300-game winner, and future MLB Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.

In the first game of the series, Astros starter Felipe Paulino lasted two innings before being pulled. On the other side, Russ Ortiz pitched almost six innings and allowed nine hits, eight runs, five walks and struck out seven. The stats may be misleading, considering he didn't allow a run until the fifth inning.

In those first two games, Houston's hitters had seven total hits and struck out 15 times.

It was indeed a relief for Houston fans when Roy Oswalt pitched the kind of game that reminded many of how he mowed down the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Six of the 2005 NLCS. Oswalt pitched eight innings and gave up just three hits, one earned run, one walk and he struck out six. He's 5-4 on the season.

On the other hand, Johnson lasted 3.2 innings, giving up five hits, three earned runs, no walks, two strikeouts, and three home runs. He's now 8-6 with a 4.81 ERA.

At 39-41, the Astros host cellar-dweller Pittsburgh Pirates for three games. Let's hope they learned from the Giants that they have a long way to go.

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