Imagine, another Astros game that started out a pitcher’s duel. We haven’t seen that much this year. Or have we?
Well, probably not against the Blue Jays. Oh yeah. Yesterday.
This game between Astros pitcher Framber Valdez and Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman was scoreless through five innings. In fact, Valdez had a no-hitter going into the sixth inning, who through five had faced the minimum number of hitters.
The Astros broke through first when Chas McCormick tripled with one out in the sixth and scored on a two-out Aledmys Diaz single. McCormick’s hit missed being a homer by six inches.
But no sane person thought the Astros would beat a team like the Blue Jays with only one run. In the bottom of the sixth Bo Bichette broke up Valdez’s no-hitter and shutout with a two-run homer just barely over the right field fence just barely fair.
But the Astros scrapped the tying run in the seventh with a single and stolen base by Kyle Tucker, and an RBI ground ball double by Nico Goodrum that barely dribbled through the infield.
In the seventh the usually reliable Astros defense failed Valdez as shortstop Jeremy Pena booted a grounder with a runner on first and one out. With runners on first and second and one out instead of just a runner on first (or maybe second) and two outs, Santiago Espinal hit an RBI single against Phil Maton to give the Jays the lead again. A subsequent double play limited the damage.
Valdez finished the game with 6.1 innings pitched, allowing three runs, two hits, two walks, a hit by pitch, with two strikeouts. Valdez threw 101 pitches, 61 for strikes, with 14 groundouts and no flyouts.
The Astros mounted a threat in the ninth, but could not score Kyle Tucker after his one out double, his third hit of the game. Jeremy Pena, who walk-off homered last Sunday’s game against the Jays, was Casey at the bat today, striking out to strand the tying run Tucker at third.
The Astros are home against Seattle tomorrow at 7:10 CT. Jake Odorizzi hopes to expand on the success of his last outing against Marco Gonzalez, who had a perfect game going deep into his last outing with the Astros.