The Astros sure know how to hang out on a Friday night. Tonight, everything was on their side as they defeated the Blue Jays 13-1 to begin the series, thanks to stellar performances from Zack Greinke, Martín Maldonado, and Carlos Correa.
First, we need to go with the veteran on the mound. In his first-ever complete game as an Astro and first in general since 2017, Greinke (37 years, 226 days) was pure dominance at Sahlen Field and became the oldest pitcher of the team to go the distance in a game since Roger Clemens did it on August 23, 2005. Clemens —43 years and 19 days old— was the losing pitcher against the Padres that day and threw only eight episodes.
In his masterful outing to outpitch Hyun-Jin Ryu, Greinke allowed only six hits and one earned run. He gave up one walk, and even though he only struck out three hitters, he was in complete control of the strike zone: 74% of Greinke’s pitches tonight were strikes, that is, 75 out of 102 total deliveries.
Unfortunately, what kept Greinke from his first shutout since 2016 was a solo shot from Randal Grichuk’s bat in the seventh inning. But, in the writer’s opinion, Greinke has become a master of the mound, a strike zone expert, a man built to throw strikes no matter how and fool hitters without having a 98-mph fastball. I’m sorry for the comparisons, but he’s THE modern Greg Maddux.
Zack has been brilliant lately for Houston. In four of his most recent five starts, he’s gone at least seven innings. Tonight, he took his sixth win of the season (6-2) and lowered his ERA to 3.38 (82 2/3 episodes). This performance came in handy to give some rest to an exhausted bullpen.
Offensively, it was quite a must-watch one. Despite scoring zero runs in the first third of the game, the Astros saved their best for later. After Yordan Álvarez cracked the score with an RBI double, they couldn’t be stopped.
Maldonado and Correa were huge with the bat as they combined for four hits, three home runs, and nine ribbies. Martín smacked a grand slam in the sixth inning while Carlos had his first multi-HR game since September 20, 2019. Aledmys Díaz, who played three positions, also hit a four-bagger and scored twice.
The Astros have now won five of their last six contests and will repeat on Saturday against the Blue Jays for the second game of the series (3:07 pm ET). José Urquidy and Ross Stripling are the probable pitchers.