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Astros take opener vs Athletics in Urquidy’s longest career outing

On a night everyone got a hit for the Astros, José Urquidy was at his best to silence the Athletics.

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With 14 hits, eight runs, and an outstanding José Urquidy, the Astros pounded hard the Athletics to defeat them 8-3 in the series opener at Oakland. On Friday night, Urquidy worked eight innings for the first time in his career, every Astros hitter got at least a hit, and Alex Bregman and Martín Maldonado registered two home runs to round up a pretty good game for Houston.

Urquidy’s only mistake came in the second inning, when Elvis Andrus launched a two-run big fly to crack the scoreboard and put the A’s ahead 2-0. In fact, after Andrus’ homer, the Astros righty retired 11 straight hitters and didn’t allow a hit until a Sean Murphy double to kick off the seventh inning.

Urquidy did more than enough to pick up his eighth win of the season to match a career-high for him (he won eight games in 2021, too). On 98 pitches (69 strikes), he threw eight strong innings, surrendered four hits and three earned runs, gave up just one walk, and struck out two hitters. The 27-year-old has a 2.00 ERA in his last 27 innings (four starts).

This is the first time an Astros pitcher threw at least eight innings with two or fewer strikeouts since Doug Fister did so, back on July 7, 2016.

While Urquidy was holding the A’s hitters, the Astros offense did its thing to reach their 10th victory in their last 11 games. In the fourth, Houston began to assemble their comeback with a Yordan Álvarez long double (11) to drive in Aledmys Díaz. Immediately after Yordan’s extra-base hit, Alex Bregman swatted his 11th four-bagger of the campaign, a two-run shot to make it 3-2.

After going 3-for-3 on Thursday, Maldonado got the best of a Paul Blackburn slider with two runners on board for his eighth homer of the season and his third in July. Thanks to Maldy, the Astros got a more-comfortable 6-2 lead.

In the seventh, they added two insurance runs via RBI singles from Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel, who went 3-for-5 and is batting for a .319 average in his last 14 games (15-for-47).

That was enough for Urquidy, who was replaced in the ninth for Seth Martínez. Martínez threw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts to lower his ERA to a brilliant 0.79 and to seal the Astros’ 55th win of the year.

On Saturday, both teams will face each other again as Framber Valdez will pitch for Houston and Zach Logue will have the ball for Oakland in a lefty-lefty matchup.