Anatomy of a Blown Save

I just watched a catastrophic and thoroughly entertaining melt down in the top of the ninth at Minute Maid Park. Jose Valverde was brought in to close the game with the Astros leading 3-2. He promptly got a first out and things were looking good for the ‘Stros. I wanted the Astros to win, but honestly I enjoyed being there for this ending more than I would have enjoyed seeing them win 3-2.
Jason Bay came up next and homered. Next Xavier Nady singled and Adam Laroche homered. The fans started evacuating like the building was on fire. Something I completely don’t understand. This game just got good! Valverde proceeded to give up more base hits including an RBI-single collected by Jack Wilson. So out goes Valverde in comes Tim Byrdak and his clear Oakleys. Byrdak got a quick out, but then with two on something happened that I’ve never witnessed while at a game. I can’t say with certainty that I’ve seen this happen while watching a game on TV, though I have seen it in highlights many times. Freddy Sanchez hit a ball deep to the gap and one of my favorite players, Hunter Pence, chased down the fly ball and got decently close to it. But he would’ve benefited by being a bit slower in this case. The ball caromed off the wall and Pence’s momentum caused him to go right by the ball. Then he turned around had to chase the ball. I’d been watching Pence but at this point I realized I just might witness an inside the park home run. So I look up and sure enough Sanchez is almost to third. Pence retrieved the ball and hit his cutoff man. The play at the plate was close, but the ball found it’s way under the glove of Ausmus. I turned to my dad and asked “Did he just hit an inside the park home run?” And my dad was like “Yeah. I think so.” And to me it was so exciting that I just started laughing. Partly at the demise of the Astros in the 9th and partly because I just saw an inside the park home run. How fun is that?

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