With Framber Valdez on top of his game, the Astros didn’t need to do much offensively to beat the Rangers. On Thursday night, in a 5-1 victory, the young left-hander shone again to keep his hegemony against the Rangers, a team he’s treated the rough way since 2020.
Valdez –who retired nine straight hitters after a Jonah Heim single in the first— pitched seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball to get his third W of the campaign (3-2). He gave up two walks, struck out seven opponents, and lowered his ERA from 2.93 to 2.68. Speaking of ERAs, Valdez’s is at 1.91 across his last 33 innings on the mound (five starts).
Since the beginning of the 2020 season, Framber has stymied Texas in six outings. Against the Rangers in that span, he’s 4-0 with a 1.60 ERA along with 22 hits allowed and seven earned runs (one home run).
Going back to Thursday’s game, the Astros didn’t waste time answering offensively, going ahead in the score right in the bottom of the first inning thanks to RBI singles from Aledmys Díaz and Kyle Tucker.
Not enough range on that extension.— Houston Astros (@astros) May 20, 2022
Stros take the 1st inning lead! pic.twitter.com/vpiu8VPAyZ
José Altuve keeps swinging a hot bat as he finished 4-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored. In May, he leads the Astros in hits (18), home runs (7), runs (16), and is tied for RBIs in second place (10).
After the productive first inning, Framber and Rangers’ rookie starter Glenn Otto found themselves in a pitching duel. Once they were done, the Astros’ bullpen did an incredible job in the hands of Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly. Both Astros’ pitchers struck out the side in both the eighth and ninth innings to end the game. However, Martín Maldonado hit a bases-clearing double to drive in the final three runs of the game in the eighth.
We needed Moore runs, so Machete delivered. pic.twitter.com/c5O17kzY9A— Houston Astros (@astros) May 20, 2022
The Astros, who have won four in a row against the Rangers, will try to repeat the dose on Friday night in the second game of the series. Righty Cristian Javier is slated to start for Houston while lefty Martín Pérez will do the same for Texas.