|ESPN.com: Buster Olney||[Print without images]|
|Kevin Gausman has impressed some veterans -- including Miguel Cabrera -- thus far.|
With rookie righthander Jose Cisnero taking over for Harrell, Kendrick led off the top of the eighth with a single. An Albert Pujols strikeout followed. The lefthanded-hitting Hamilton then drove a 2-2 fastball that was supposed to be fired inside and ended up outside into deep left-center field. Kendrick easily scored.
Then a cutoff throw from rookie shortstop Jake Elmore -- promoted Tuesday from Triple-A Oklahoma City and primarily a second baseman -- reminded the Astros, with their $21 million payroll, what happens when they push a major rebuilding project to the extreme and hope they can make it through a 162-game season without being as bad as they often appear on paper.
Elmore’s hurried throw sailed toward the first-base slide of home plate. The ball bounced twice, hit the right side of the backstop, scooted across dirt and grass -- slowly moving in front of the Astros’ dugout -- and spent about six seconds in baseball free fall before catcher Carlos Corporan finally stabbed it with his glove.
"I was like, 'All right. Just make a nice, strong throw.' And then when I went to throw it, I kind of cut it. I got on the side of it, and I knew it," Elmore said.