Fortunately for the Astros, Alex Bregman is swinging the bat very, very well. On Thursday night, the third baseman carried with the team’s offense and drove in three of the four runs to defeat the Mariners 4-2 in the series opener to reach 65 wins. On the pitching side, José Urquidy delivered another strong performance, his eighth straight quality start.
Bregman, who went 2-for-4 as the cleanup hitter, kicked off the game in fashion as he took deep youngster Logan Gilbert for his 13th homer of the season. Bregman, who gave the Astros an early 2-0 lead, came right after Yordan Álvarez smashed his 14th double of the season.
Back in business. pic.twitter.com/ND1orFOyLH— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2022
With Urquidy on the mound, the Astros hung two zeroes, but the Mariners hitters came alive in the third as they manufactured two runs on a sacrifice fly and a groundout to tie the game up at two. Urquidy stayed strong despite they scored twice and finished his night after 6 2/3 innings in front of almost 30,000 people (29,799) at Minute Maid Park.
The Mariners would have probably taken the lead had Kyle Tucker not made this catch to begin the fifth…
He's got us. pic.twitter.com/8cd7emEyMk— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2022
The 27-year-old Urquidy surrendered only four hits and two earned runs throughout his 106-pitch outing with two walks and three strikeouts. His ERA is at 2.60 over his last 52 innings (eight starts). Now, he’s had consecutive dominant starts against Seattle, the same team he defeated last Friday.
Rafael Montero was the reliever chosen by Dusty Baker to replace Urquidy in the seventh inning after two outs and with a man on second base. Montero got the final out of the inning and retired three more hitters in the eighth to serve the table for Bregman’s final act of the night.
Mariners’ Andrés Muñoz plunked Yuli Gurriel with a 100-mph fastball, but it was worth the pain. Gurriel stole second base and Bregman brought him home with the Astros’ third run of the game. Just a few minutes later, Bregman scored thanks to a wild pitch from Muñoz to make it 4-2.
He's still that guy. pic.twitter.com/J2ktBINPpd— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2022
Bregman is now hitting for a .287 average in his last 35 games, along with nine doubles, seven long balls, 24 RBIs, 21 runs, 17 free passes, and an .899 OPS.
It was all a matter of seconds to seeing Ryan Pressly get his 21st save of the season. The veteran righty pitched a scoreless ninth, allowed a hit to see his streak of 32 retired hitters come to an end, and struck out two hitters to seal the win.
A dominant run.— Houston Astros (@astros) July 29, 2022
Ryan Pressly's 32 consecutive batters retired is a franchise record. pic.twitter.com/RZaQEMIC5j
Both teams will see each other on Friday night in the second contest of this four-game series. Friday will give us a beautiful battle of former Cy Young winners as Justin Verlander is the announced starter by Houston and Robbie Ray is the man in charge for the visitors.