It took them 110 games, but the Houston Astros finally delivered their defining moment for 2012 on Monday night. As you might guess, the defining moment for a team with a league-worst 36-74 record resembles performance art more than it does good baseball. But it's also one of the funnier sequences we'll see on a baseball field this season.
It all started when Kurt Suzuki of the Washington Nationals tried bunting Roger Bernadina — potentially the go-ahead run — into scoring position in the 11th inning ...
That's the franchise of Craig Biggio, ladies and gentlemen! After the Nationals won 5-4, the Astros were given a chance to explain wha' happened via reporter Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle. Everything went wrong once first baseman Steve Pearce and pitcher Wilton Lopez noticed something — each other:
"They both thought they were going to be able to catch the ball in the air, and they each saw the other guy," Astros manager Brad Mills said. "Then everybody was tangled up."
Score the play single, E-3, E-9 and arguably the lowlight of the lowest season in Astros history.
But it wasn't the only thing that went wrong for a team that had plenty of chances to win but instead wound up 4-31 over its last 35 games.
Four and 31! Oy. Jose Cruz is turning over in his Barcolounger. OK, to review, we have:
• A poor bunt.
• Pearce and pitcher Lopez colliding.
• Pearce scrambling to pick up the ball and making an off-balance throw to first base, around Lopez, as he's bumped by soaring third baseman Matt Downs.
• Downs, who was running in to make a play when he saw Pearce and Lopez tangle, makes like a flying ballerina, extending his arms in the air to, presumably, avoid either bumping into a player or the throw.
• Pearce's errant throw going down the right-field line for an error (amazingly, the first of the inning).
• Bernadina, never bothering to slow down as he rounds third, ignores the stop sign put up by third base coach Bo Porter.
• Astros outfielder Brian Bogusevic, rushing to throw out Bernadina at home, airmails his throw to catcher Chris Snyder, who can't reach the ball because it's way over his head. Just the second error, if not the second mistake, of the sequence. Bernadina scores, and Suzuki, who had bunted, stands on third. If he had tried to run home, his chances were good of making it.
And all of it made this kid happy. Who said the Astros can't appeal to a new generation of fans?