Webb's D-backs end Astros' romp
Arizona starter picks up 18th win to lead Majors
HOUSTON -- Brandon Webb knew from the first batter he faced that he had his good stuff Friday night.
He went outside with a fastball for a called strike to Darin Erstad, then came inside for another called strike. Finally, he finished him off with a good changeup outside.
Three pitches. One out. Tone set.
It didn't hurt that the D-backs' offense fired on all cylinders to beat the Astros, 12-2, in front of 36,035 at Minute Maid Park.
The loss snapped Houston's eight-game winning streak.
"I was getting ahead of most of the hitters," Webb said. "I was pretty aggressive in the strike zone and I was able to keep the ball on the ground, for the most part. I don't know if it was my best one, but it was pretty good though."
Webb picked up his Major League-best 18th win as he allowed two runs on four hits and threw just 84 pitches in eight innings.
"He's had some great games this year, but I think at a certain point in time in the game, that was the best sinker we've seen all year," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "The first at-bat to Erstad was kind of the telltale sign of what his stuff was going to look like. When the sinker is moving belly-button to knees, it can be a difficult night."
It certainly was for Astros starter Wandy Rodriguez (7-5).
The left-hander walked four in the first inning, including two with the bases loaded, as the D-backs built a 3-0 lead.
The patient approach at the plate was a good sign for the D-backs, a few of whom are from Texas and had a little extra incentive.
"A lot of guys are coming home and wanted to do some good things at the plate, but obviously Rodriguez wasn't on top of his game, command-wise, as he usually is," Melvin said.
In fact, all three of the D-backs' homers were hit by players with ties to the Lone Star State.
Catcher Chris Snyder, who was born in Houston, homered and drove in four runs.
Chris Young, also from Houston, watched Snyder's homer from the dugout and was envious.
"He was just sitting on top of the world after he hit that homer," Young said. "For some reason, I just really wanted to hit a homer bad."
Young did that one inning later, as he continued his hot hitting. He is now 8-for-18 with three home runs in Houston.
"The adrenaline flow is through the roof," Young said of playing in Houston. "For some reason, when you're playing for a fifth of your family members and everybody is expecting something, it's kind of like a playoff atmosphere, almost."
Finally, second baseman Chris Burke, who had scuffled at the plate throughout the year since coming over during the offseason from the Astros, homered for the second consecutive night. This time, it was a three-run shot that capped a 2-for-5 evening.
"A lot of good memories here, a lot of good people, so it was nice to be able to catch up and say hello," said Burke, who played parts of four seasons in Houston.
All three hitters, though, simply marveled at the pitching of Webb. After he allowed a run in the first, Webb gave up just one hit until the sixth when Ty Wigginton, who had three hits on the night, homered to left.
"I wish I could have got in on Wiggington a little bit more," Webb said. "He was hacking. From the first pitch I threw him, he was ready."
That would be all the Astros could manage against Webb, who left after eight.
"Not in that type of game," Melvin said of whether he was tempted to let Webb go for the complete game. "We'll save some pitches on him."
Steve Gilbert is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.