The last time Brian Moehler started was Sept. 29, 2006. He was with the Florida Marlins and pitched against the Philadelphia Phillies.
In that game, Moehler pitched three and a third innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits. He walked two and failed to strike anybody out.
Against the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 8, 2008, Moehler exceeded expectations in a 7-1 Astros victory over the Dodgers.
Houston manager Cecil Cooper said he would be glad if Moehler lasted five innings. That's how long Moehler lasted, giving up only five hits and one walk, striking out five. Cooper told ESPN he was impressed with Moehler’s performance.
"He did a terrific job," Cooper said. "I thought he'd be able to go out and throw strikes, and he did just that. He pushed the limit, as far as pitches were concerned. I was really looking for 60-65, and he got up to 81. But it was just an outstanding outing by Mo. He hit his spots pretty well and was really sharp."
Moehler replaced Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation after Rodriguez went on the disabled list. Moehler has spent most of his career as a starting pitcher, but has been used exclusively as a reliever since rejoining the Astros. Moehler told ESPN he just wants to win, no matter what his role is.
"I'm at a point in my career where I really just want to go to the playoffs. And whatever role there is, whether it's reliever or starter or both, it doesn't matter to me. I enjoy either role," Moehler said. "Am I capable of starting? Yeah, but I'm probably not capable of giving them 32-35 starts anymore.”
The Astros gave Moehler run support early in the game. Lance Berkman led off with a double to left center. Carlos Lee knocked him in with a double to left. Lee scored on an error by Jeff Kent to make it 2-0.
In the third, Houston scored two more times. Michael Bourn led off with an infield single then stole second. Kazuo Matsui drove him in with a double to center. Matsui advanced to third on Tejada’s groundout and scored on Lee’s sacrifice fly.
Berkman hit a two-run home run to right in the fifth, scoring Tejada and giving the Astros a 6-0 lead.
Derek Lowe started for the Dodgers, pitching five and one-third innings. The Dodgers’ starter gave up eight hits, six runs and two walks, striking out five.
Andruw Jones scored the Dodgers only run on Chin-lung Hu’s groundout to second.
The Astros (19-17) play the Dodgers (19-16) again Saturday at 9:10 CST. Chris Sampson (1-3) will start for the Astros against the Dodgers’ Chad Billingsley (2-4).