Amid fantastic performances by rookies Jonathan Villar and outfielder Robbie Grossman, the Houston Astros showed a familiar lack of ability to hold on to a lead for the duration of a game.
There was no doubting the most electric play of the game, and it occurred in the third inning. With the bases loaded and perched upon third base, Villar crept progressively further away from the bag, until he snapped and raced down the line; before the opposing pitcher or catcher could react, he slid fearlessly into home plate.
It was the Astros’ first steal of home since 1989, and had the game been played in Houston rather than in Maryland, the stadium would have erupted. These are the sort of immortal moments that Villar, who has only been in the majors for a couple of weeks, seems destined to produce over his career.
At this point, it gave the Astros a 3-0 lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the third inning, but true to form, that advantage was to be short-lived for the struggling club.
The Orioles are a powerful offensive club, and they regained the lead with two runs in both the fourth and sixth innings. It must be added that this was largely due to the faltering performance of the emotionally susceptible Lucas Harrell, who followed three solid innings with two dismal ones.
The vigor of the young guns hold the Astros’ heads just above water for short periods of time, but old habits die hard for this team. They came close yet again, but a loss is a loss. Stretches of hard work are overshadowed by key poor moments. It seems to be all this team knows at the moment.