Welcome to the Season 17 of the USMLB.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

American League Championship Series - Game 1 Recap - Atlanta at Houston

Houston, TX (USMLB AP) - Alberto Sanchez pitched seven strong innings and Sean Foster's thirteenth inning walk-off double gave Houston Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, 2-1, this afternoon in Minute Maid Park.

In what was an absolute pitcher's duel, Houston came out on top. Hitmen starter Sanchez showed a strong outing, pitching 7.2 innings in the game, giving up seven hits and one earned run, while walking one batter and striking out nine.

"Both teams pitched an absolute gem of a game today," Houston manager Ernie Key commented. "Our guys just kept battling through, and we came out with the win."

"I gave up more hits than I wanted to, but I kept my focus and pushed through," Hitmen starting pitcher Sanchez said. "Our bullpen did a great job after I was taken out of the game, and that was the key to our victory."

Pitching has been a strong suit for the Hitmen all season, posting a team 4.04 ERA, good for fifth in the league.

Who was fourth in the league this year with a 3.97 ERA? You guessed it... the Brave Vawts.

"We knew, going into this series, that it was going to be the battle of the pitchers," third-year coach Trevor Patrick recalled. "This game was a great example of what's most likely to come."

Both teams were held to under .200 batting average in the game.

The scoring started in the bottom of the fifth inning when Hitmen designated hitter, Geraldo Rodriguez, crushed a solo home run to right center field.

The Brave Vawts tied the game at one apiece when Cookie Pena hit a line drive single to left center to bring in Mitch Durbin.

"We needed that run pretty badly considering how strong Sanchez had been pitching all game" coach Patrick commented. "I'm not sure we would have had a chance to score in the ninth considering how well Trunk had pitched in the regular season."

The Hitmen had a chance to win the game in the tenth with Rocky Meadows on second base after a two-out steal, putting him in scoring position. After an intentional walk to Tomas Roque, Todd Howry was caught looking at a pitch on the inside corner for strike three.

Atlanta had a chance to take the lead in the top of the thirteenth. With Mitch Durbin on second base and Ellie Bowman on first with one out, a ground single to left center field gave an opportunity for Durbin to score the go-ahead run, but he was thrown out at home by Hitmen left fielder Donaldo Calderon. Cookie Pena grounded out to shortstop which ended the threat.

In the bottom of the thirteenth inning, with Edgar Tejada on second base after a double, the Brave Vawts made a pitching change, hoping that William Hanson could get the Vawts out of the jam. Unfortunately for Atlanta, Foster lined a double to bring in the winning run for Houston.