HOUSTON — Astros rookie right-hander Henry Sosa tossed a gem Tuesday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Minute Maid Park, allowing just one earned run on two hits with one walk and seven strikeouts over six strong innings to pick up his second straight win.
Houston exploded for six runs in the sixth, sending 11 batters to the plate while getting a two-run single from Matt Downs, RBI singles from Jose Altuve, J.D. Martinez and Carlos Lee, as well as a run-scoring double from Jimmy Paredes, to give Sosa plenty of support and lift the Astros to a commanding 8-2 victory.
It marked the third straight win for Houston.
The 26-year-old Sosa capitalized on another opportunity by showing manager Brad Mills that he belongs in the starting rotation just a little over one month after being acquired in a trade package that sent Jeff Keppinger to the San Francisco Giants.
“It was cool to see Sosa pitch that way,” Mills said following Tuesday’s win. “He wound up with 89 pitches and threw the ball extremely well. His last outing was good. It’s nice to see him back it up with another great outing. That is the biggest thing.”
Sosa had shown glimpses of big league potential while in the Giants’ farm system, as evident with earning a 2007 South Atlantic League All-Star selection and being a member of the World Team in the 2007 XM All-Star Futures Game at AT&T Park.
However, the talented right-hander hit a road block due to limited advancement opportunities, especially with the Giants featuring two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Jonathan Sanchez, Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong as the primary options in Bruce Bochy’s rotation.
“When I found out, I thought it was good for me,” Sosa said. “I know I have a better chance with the Astros. The Giants won the World Series last year. They have the pitching staff they need. So, I have a much better chance to compete with the Astros.”
After spending minimal time at Double-A Corpus Christi and later Triple-A Oklahoma City in Houston’s system, Sosa finds himself making a significant difference at the back end of the Astros’ rotation, posting at least six innings in four of his five starts.
“I feel great,” Sosa said. “I want to keep winning. It’s good for your career. The defense is good behind me and they help me to win. I feel like I’m getting better. The pitching coach [Doug Brocail] helps me out a lot. I am learning more every day.”
Sosa is 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA over 29 innings in five starts for the Astros since getting called up to start on Aug. 10 against Arizona.
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