Notes from Wednesday’s game, plus Pence and a birthday cupcake

Postgame notes following the Astros’ 9-5 loss to the Cubs…

• The five runs scored by Houston in the sixth inning were the most in an inning by the club this season, besting the previous high of four accomplished twice, most recently in the 8th inning on Tuesday vs. CHC.
• With five innings pitched, Wandy Rodriguez surpassed the 1,000 innings pitched mark, becoming the fourth Astros lefty in franchise history to do so, joining Bob Knepper (1738), Mike Hampton (1138) and Jim Deshaies (1102)…he now has 1,001 career innings, all as an Astro.
• Matt Downs hit his first home run since April 10, 2010 vs. the Phillies. Downs has an RBI in each of his last four games, with five RBIs over that span.
• Bill Hall extended his club-best hitting streak to eight games and is hitting .321 (9-for-28) during the streak.
• Angel Sanchez has hit safely in five consecutive games with a .478 average (11-for-23).
• Mark Melancon has appeared in a club-high seven games this season and has not allowed a run in his six innings of relief.

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So what happened with Brett Wallace in the sixth inning? To recap, Bill Hall hit a pop up just past the infield, just out of the reach of two Cubs fielders. The ball dropped, but Wallace raced back to first — where Hall was standing, safely.

Wallace’s view was blocked and he didn’t know the ball wasn’t caught.

“Just from that angle, with the second baseman going back, you’re basically blocked out,” Wallace said. I couldn’t see the ball. It looked like (right fielder Tyler) Colvin scooped it up. It was just a judgement call.”

Wallace guessed he would have been out at second had he run that way anyway.

“It would have looked a lot better if I went to second and was out, but I think it would have been the same result,” he said.

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Chris Johnson was kept out of the lineup for Wednesday’s finale with the Cubs, a precautionary move stemming from a plunking the night before that left him with a bruised arm.

“It’s tough for him to move his arm around,” Brad Mills said. “We’ll give him tonight (off) and see how he is (Thursday).”

“Hopefully the swelling will be down tomorrow just so I can get that range of motion back,” Johnson told MLB.com “It’s not really too painful. I just can’t extend my arm.”

________________

Hunter Pence would probably say that his 28th birthday was a dud because of the Astros’ loss, but it started off pretty well. He had lunch with President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush, and later bantered back and forth with Kevin Millar during an interview on MLB Network.

At the end of the chat, he received a birthday cupcake, which he took a big bite out of — on air. Here’s the video, with a couple of images to illustrate the moment:

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