On Friday night, the Astros got the best from their offense to reach 40 wins in 2022 —second AL team to do so— and open the three-game series against the White Sox with a 13-3 win. With Framber Valdez dominating on the bump, Houston hit five home runs, including three in a huge sixth inning in which they scored 10 times.
In what looked at first like a great pitching duel between Valdez and Lucas Giolito, the Astros had Giolito’s number and began early with their run production. In the very first inning, Alex Bregman hit a two-run blast for his second home run in more than a month and seventh overall. An inning later, Yuli Gurriel launched his second long ball in back-to-back games in what could be offensive vital signs.
La Piña. Back-to-back games. pic.twitter.com/02kO0GW7hh— Houston Astros (@astros) June 18, 2022
However, the 3-0 lead didn’t last long as AJ Pollock answered with a game-tying, three-run shot of his own in the third. Both starters hung zeroes until the sixth, when the Astros activated beast mode and went crazy.
There were two RBI singles, one run-scoring double, a solo homer by Kyle Tucker (13), a two-run round-tripper by Yordan Álvarez (18), and even Michael Brantley’s third career grand slam (5). It’s the first time the Astros scored at least 10 times in an inning since May 29, 2017, when they scored 11 times in the eighth to beat the Twins 16-8.
We're feeling grand.#VoteBrantley ⭐️ https://t.co/C9XSBgCmB7 pic.twitter.com/mODugiRdZa— Houston Astros (@astros) June 18, 2022
Take it easy on 'em? Okay.— Houston Astros (@astros) June 18, 2022
Honestly, Nevermind. pic.twitter.com/tIxgS3Qzer
10-run inning. pic.twitter.com/Tk0ZvQqLH2— Houston Astros (@astros) June 18, 2022
With these two RBIs, Álvarez already has 19 in 14 games in June, an outstanding performance that includes four doubles, a triple, four long balls, and a robust .471 average. Enjoy his team-leading 18th dinger of the campaign…
With the big offensive showing, Valdez just had to do his thing up there. And he did. The Astros southpaw delivered his 10th quality start in a row, after surrendering eight hits and three earned runs over six innings. He did not walk anybody and struck out seven hitters to improve his record to 7-3 with a 2.78 ERA.
Ryne Stanek, Seth Martínez, and Albert Abreu combined to complete the final third of the game without allowing a hit or a run while striking out five.
On Saturday, the Astros will go for the second game of the series. Justin Verlander is announced to start for Houston in what’s gonna be a matchup of veterans between him and right-hander Johnny Cueto.