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News » Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2008-06-28

Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2008-06-28

Houston Astros Inside Pitch 2008-06-28
Runelvys Hernandez had seen the Boston Red Sox enough during his career to have a pretty good idea how to face one of the toughest lineups in the American League.

The one thing he knew he couldn't afford to do was leave a ball up in the strike zone, which is why Hernandez was lamenting a 2-0 slider he floated to Red Sox right fielder J.D. Drew in the third inning Friday.

Drew sent the pitch 387 feet into the right field stands for a three-run homer that represented the only blemish on Hernandez's line and the only runs the Red Sox needed in a 6-1 wipeout of the Astros.

"I felt really good," said Hernandez, making his first start in the majors since Sept. 29, 2006. "One mistake took me out of the game, you know? I'm going to give my 100 percent to help the team win."

Hernandez, 30, was called up from Class AAA Round Rock on Thursday to take Shawn Chacon's spot in the rotation. He pitched five innings and allowed five hits, three runs, three walks and struck out five with his power fastball.

"The first couple of innings he was down in the strike zone, and that's what he has to do," manager Cecil Cooper said. "I saw a real good slider. His command was real good early and he got the ball down, and that one inning when they got three runs he just got the ball up a little bit."

Hernandez went 25-33 as a starter for Kansas City from 2002-2006 and spent the 2007 season in the Red Sox, Yankees and Pirates organizations before signing a minor league contract with the Astros in January.

He went 6-3 with a 3.72 ERA in 15 starts for Round Rock before getting another shot in the big leagues.

"I don't want to be too excited," he said. "I want to do my job one day at a time and help my team to win the game."

Hernandez walked Coco Crisp with one out in the third before Dustin Pedroia doubled to left to put runners at second and third, setting up Drew for a three-run homer that put Boston in control.

"He missed the zone with Crisp, he got behind on J.D. Drew and then he hung a slider," Cooper said. "Other than that, I thought he pitched pretty well. He'll get a few more outings under his belt and continue to keep the ball down. But I saw great arm strength, and that's something we don't have here. He's going to get some opportunities."

After allowing the first two batters to reach in the fourth, Hernandez retired the final five batters he faced and was pulled from the game after 99 pitches.

"If I was on the zone the way I normally do it, I would get a chance to throw seven innings," Hernandez said. "Today I made one mistake when my ball wouldn't sink."

RED SOX 6, ASTROS 1: Daisuke Matsuzaka held the Astros to two hits in five scoreless innings as Boston won the series opener at Minute Maid Park. Houston's only run came courtesy of a Reggie Abercrombie homer.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: June 28, 2008

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