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Braves Top Astros, 5-4 in Extras

The Houston Astros dropped a 5-4 decision in 11 innings to the Atlanta Braves.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros dropped a 5-4 decision to the Atlanta Braves in 11 innings on Saturday night.

Cristian Javier made his 19th start of the season for the Astros against the Braves on Saturday night. He ranks third on the team with a 1.025 WHIP, eighth in the American League with 138 strikeouts, and leads the Astros with a 5.9 H/9. Despite all that, he ranked last on the team with a 7-8 record — the only losing record from the entire staff.

Javier was starting opposite super-rookie and super-mustachioed Spencer Strider. Strider came into the game with 13.5 K/9 — 142 K’s in 94 23 frames — and a 1.035 WHIP.

The two pitchers performed as advertised to begin the game, with Strider actually perfect until the fourth inning when he allowed a single to Kyle Tucker. In the Braves half of the fourth, Javier got into a spot of trouble after giving up a leadoff walk to Dansby Swanson. Swanson got to third on a Jeremy Peña fielding error, putting William Contreras on first with two outs. Javier got out of the jam by an Eddie Rosario swinging strikeout.

Peña broke the seal with two outs in the fifth with his 16th home run of the season to make it 1-0, Astros.

In the bottom of the fifth, Vaughn Grissom returned the favor with his third homer of the season to tie the contest at one.

The score remained locked at one for some time after that. In the bottom of the eighth, Astros reliever Rafael Montero got into a jam by opening the frame with back-to-back walks. After getting Dansby Swanson to pop out, he induced an Austin Riley 6-4-3 double play to escape without bloodshed.

After a scoreless ninth for each club, Chas McCormick opened the 10th with a single to left field, followed by a Jake Meyers RBI-single to give the Astros the lead back. After a Jose Altuve strikeout, Yuli Gurriel doubled McCormick home for a 3-1 lead.

Hector Neris came in to pitch the 10th, and got Grissom to ground out on a 1-0 pitch. Michael Harris II then doubled home runner Guillermo Heredia to cut halfway into Houston’s lead, Robbie Grossman doubled Harris home to eliminate it.

Alex Bregman scored in the top half of the 11th on a Peña groundout. Called on to shut things down, Ryne Stanek quickly walked leadoff hitter Austin Riley, then allowed a game-tying Matt Olsen double. After an intentional walk, Travis d’Arnaud knocked in Riley with the game-winning run.

  • Javier put 70-of-106 pitches over the plate, and limited the Braves to one walk and two hits over six innings. He struck out eight, and improved his WHIP to 0.997 for the season.
  • On a substandard offensive night for most, none had it harder than Altuve and Trey Mancini, who were each 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.
  • Bryan Abreu allowed a hit over his scoreless inning.
  • Ryan Pressly pitched a perfect ninth.
  • After Javier’s eight whiffs over his six innings, the Houston bullpen combined for one over the final four (plus) innings.

Check back tomorrow when José Urquidy (11-4, 3.69) and the Astros attempt to salvage the final game of the series at 12:35 PM.