The Houston Astros used the strong pitching of Lucas Harrell and great defense to beat the San Diego Padres 1-0 at Minute Maid Park Wednesday night.

Harrell upped his record to 7-6 with his complete game shutout.  He struck out 7, gave up 6 hits and walked 4.

The Astros were only able to muster 2 hits, but one of them made all the difference.  Utility player Matt Downs hit a solo homer in the third inning, for the game's only run.  Downs was starting at second base tonight in place of the injured Jose Altuve.

Padres starting pitcher Clayton Richard gave Harrell a run for his money.  He pitched 7 innings, giving up the one run and striking out 5.

The most tenuous inning of the night was the top of the ninth.  Chase Headley led off the ninth with a single for the Padres. A fielder's choice got Headley out at second and allowed Carlos Quentin to reach first. Padres manager Bud Black brought in Alexi Amarista to pinch run for Quentin. Then Yonder Alonso walked on four straight pitches.

Logan Forsythe came up next and hit a hard grounder to left.  J.D. Martinez fielded the ball cleanly and made the defensive play of the night with a strong, accurate throw to the plate to gun down Amarista who was trying to score from second.  It was Martinez's second outfield assist of the season. However, even after the great play, Harrell's tough ninth still continued.  He walked the next hitter, Mark Kotsay to load the bases. So, with two outs, and the bases loaded, Harrell faced catcher Nick Hundley. He worked Hundley to a 2-2 count. Hundley then fouled off the next pitch before swinging and missing on a 94 mph fastball to end the game.

The Astros and Padres wrap up their 4-game series Thursday evening.

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