Ask me about an encouraging moment for the Astros on Wednesday’s game and I’ll tell you about José Urquidy. With a great performance against the Rangers, the 26-year-old righty guided the ‘Stros to a 7-2 win at Globe Life Field, their 85th victory of the campaign. Urquidy was backed up by three home runs from Jake Meyers, Marwin González, and Kyle Tucker.
Despite walking the lead-off guy to open the first inning, Urquidy was lights out from the beginning to the end of the night. He completed six episodes for the first time since June 23 —missed time due to injury—, allowed only two hits and an earned run, walked one, and struck out six hitters. Not only did he lower his ERA to 3.38, but he also won for the seventh time (7-3).
Urquidy was super effective tonight, throwing only 81 pitches (54 strikes) and getting nine whiffs. He was even pitching harder than usual, with his fastball averaging 93.1 MPH (year average: 92.5 MPH), his changeup stayed consistently around 85.5 MPH (year average: 84.2 MPH) while his curveball averaged 78.3 MPH (year average: 76.8 MPH).
Offensively, it was another awakening for the Astros, who got five extra-bases despite getting none the night before. In the second inning, they began his hitting explosion against starter Kohei Arihara with back-to-back homers by Meyers and González. The former came to this game with 10 hitless at-bats in his prior five contests, while the latter hit his second four-baggers in four games since returning to Houston and the 100th jack of his career. In 11 plate appearances, González now has the same number of dingers he hit for the Red Sox across 271 PAs.
In the fourth frame, with the Astros up 3-1, Chas McCormick hit a bases-loaded, two-run single to leave things 5-1. Almost immediately, in the fifth, Yordan Álvarez doubled for the 30th time to drive in José Altuve with Houston’s sixth run. Then, in the top eighth, Kyle Tucker had the last word for the Astros and launched his 26th home run of the year to maintain his torrid hitting in September.
Ryne Stanek retired the seventh without any trouble to keep his hot streak going. In his last 10 appearances, he’s gone 9 2/3 innings of four-hit, one-run ball with two walks and 11 strikeouts (0.93 ERA). Kendall Graveman and Josh James (who allowed a run) got the final six outs of the game to seal the win.
On Thursday (7:05 pm CT), both teams will meet again with the Astros going after the series on the final game against the Rangers in 2021. Framber Valdez will start for Houston while rookie Glenn Otto will do the same for Texas.