On Saturday night, Zack Greinke gave the Astros everything they could have asked for. Against the first-place Mariners, he pitched like an ace and the legend he is. Thanks to a wonderful job on the mound by the veteran righty, Houston snapped a six-game losing streak and defeated Seattle 1-0.
From his first pitch to his last one, Greinke looked like he did in his prime. He went eight scoreless innings of four singles, no walks, and six strikeouts with 91 pitches (62 strikes). What a way to vindicate himself after a rough outing against Detroit. It was the longest outing by any Astros’ starter this year.
One of the most impressive aspects of the game for Zack was that he barely made hitters miss. He pitched to contact and did a masterful job inducing soft impacts, as his opponents’ average exit velocity was 83.5 MPH in the entire game. Greinke got only seven whiffs on 39 swings, but that was enough for him to silence one of the hottest teams in baseball and take the win in the second game of the series.
The contest had a few brilliant defensive plays made by Houston. First, it was Greinke to erase a Mariners’ threat in the fifth inning. With men on first and second, he turned an apparently dropped caught line drive into a double play:
Then it was a diving play by Yuli Gurriel at first base to catch a Kyle Seager liner to end the sixth frame.
This game also represented Greinke’s 210th career win, second-most among active pitchers. It also brought the 2700th lifetime strikeout for the righty, thanks to a marvelous changeup from the 37-year-old to Sam Haggerty.
Remember when Greinke said earlier this week that he didn’t want to throw his slider anymore?
Zack Greinke on his slider: "I don't want to ever throw it again after today."— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) April 13, 2021
According to Statcast, Greinke meant that. Despite his 91 pitches, he didn’t use his slider tonight at all. Although, Martín Maldonado had something different to tweet…
The last pitch was a SL— Machete Maldonado (@Machete1224) April 18, 2021
On the offensive side, the Astros got 10 hits —all against starter Chris Flexen—, but they lacked clutch hitting (or whatever you wanna call it nowadays). They went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. And that was enough for a dominant Greinke. It was an RBI single to center field from Taylor Jones’ bat, the hardest hit ball in the game (110.1 MPH).
Greinke could have gone for the shutout, but Dusty Baker and some teammates were seen in the dugout speaking to him after the eighth inning. Eight innings was everything for Zack, who was followed by Ryan Pressly. The closer got his first save of the season on eight pitches for a perfect ninth.
The Astros, now with a 7-7 record and 1.5 games out of first place, will go out on Sunday (4:10 pm ET) to try to take the series against the Mariners. Jake Odorizzi (0-1, 13.50 ERA) is slated to make his second start of this year. Nick Margevicius (0-1, 7.04 ERA) will be his counterpart.