--SS Clint Barmes was cleared to begin playing catch after an X-ray Friday showed significant healing in his broken left hand. He will likely be cleared on Monday to swing the bat -- but just the motion, not at a baseball. Barmes has been out since March 25 with the fracture suffered when he was hit by a pitch and could be back by the end of the month.
--C J.R. Towles, not all that successful a hitter in his time in the big leagues, delivered his second home opener home run of his career, and he's only played three home openers. Towles hit the first pitch of his first at-bat into the left field Crawford Boxes off Ricky Nolasco to give the Astros a 1-0 lead in the third inning as part of his 3-for-4 day.
--1B Brett Wallace had his best game of the season, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a double after a rough start to the year. "It was nice to get going a little bit out there and have some balls fall in and get some balls not hit right at guys," said Wallace, who raised his average to .240. "But it definitely would have been nicer in a win."
--RF Hunter Pence shouldered much of the blame for the Astros' loss in the home opener after he failed to get the tying run home from third base with one out in the eighth inning, ultimately striking out on 10 pitches. "I feel like ultimately that was the at-bat that gave us the opportunity to win the game," Pence said. "Unfortunately, I didn't get it done."
--2B Bill Hall injured his ankle on a hard slide at second base that caused much more damage to Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez, who left the game with a contusion. Hall, who had wraps on both legs after the game, said he expects to be able to play on Saturday or Sunday.
BY THE NUMBERS
9.20 -- Points by which Wandy Rodriguez lowered his ERA in his second start of the season, following seven earned runs in four innings (15.75 ERA) on April 2 with seven innings and one earned run that settled him in at 6.55.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I didn't go in with ill intent, obviously. I'm an infielder myself, so I know what it feels like to be in those helpless positions." -- 2B Bill Hall, on his takeout slide on Marlins SS Hanley Ramirez, who left the game with a leg contusion.
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