Apparently, the All-Star break was a boost for the already great Houston Astros. On Sunday afternoon, they completed a three-game series sweep against the Seattle Mariners with an 8-5 victory behind another quality start by Framber Valdez plus homers from José Altuve and Jeremy Peña. The Astros have a 5-0 record after the break.
The Astros didn’t waste any time as Altuve took deep starter Robbie Ray with the first pitch of the game. It was Altuve’s 30th leadoff home run of his career and ninth this campaign, which tied the second-most for an Astro in a season – George Springer also hit nine back in 2017. With this long ball, Altuve now has 19 homers in 2022.
BOO YA, FIRST PITCH SWANGIN'. pic.twitter.com/8CgvBj3vi1— Houston Astros (@astros) July 24, 2022
After Altuve’s bomb, Jeremy Peña handled a 3-2 count and went yard back-to-back with his 14th dinger of the season to make it 2-0.
Who let the dawgs out? pic.twitter.com/Zbxy6OxLkr— Houston Astros (@astros) July 24, 2022
In the second, the Astros rallied once again and scored three runs on hits from Mauricio Dubón, Martín Maldonado, and Altuve. After two innings, Valdez had a comfortable 5-0 lead. However, Chas McCormick made it 6-0 in the third after hitting into a force out.
Speaking of Valdez, Framber was sharp again. He fired eight strikeouts and gave up one walk while allowing eight hits and three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings to improve his record to 9-4.
It was Framber’s 16th straight quality start, the second-longest streak for an Astros starter, behind only Mike Scott’s record of 20 consecutive quality outings (1986). The last time Valdez allowed more than three earned runs was on April 19 against the Angels (six runs).
But not everything was said and done. The Mariners scored thrice in the bottom seventh to make it 8-3. Fortunately for the Astros, Maldonado added two more runs in the top eighth with a two-run single, right before Seattle scored twice in the bottom eighth (8-5) thanks to former Astro Abraham Toro’s two-run home run.
Make it eight! pic.twitter.com/wB7kLjeay6— Houston Astros (@astros) July 24, 2022
Maldonado, who went 2-for-4, is hitting .255 (13-for-51) with two doubles, five homers, and 14 RBIs over his last 17 games, including a .910 OPS.
Ryan Pressly took over and threw a perfect ninth to pick up his 20th save. Pressly has now retired 30 straight hitters, a franchise record.
Ryan Pressly came off paternity list and delivered three more outs for the Astros. That’s 30 outs in a row.. pic.twitter.com/QpvwhkufgX— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 24, 2022
Now, the Astros are visiting Oakland for the last time this season as they’re ready to play a three-game series against the Athletics from Monday to Wednesday. Jake Odorizzi is announced to start the series opener for Houston while Adam Oller will take the ball for the A’s.