The Astros were infallible from Monday to Wednesday afternoon against the Tigers to complete a three-game series sweep. In their final matchup of this season, Cristian Javier was lights out on the mound and pitched six scoreless innings to go past Detroit. Offensively, Houston knocked only five hits, but they were enough to seal its fourth win in a row.
In a game that lasted under three hours, Javier found himself in a pitcher’s duel throughout the first third of the game with Tigers starter Joey Wentz. Javier surrendered only two hits (both singles), gave no walks, and added eight more strikeouts to his count. This was only his third start of the season in which he didn’t issue a base on balls.
Javier got 14 whiffs including eight on his slider, though he registered half of his punchouts with his four-seam fastball, which touched 95.2 mph at some point. With his 173 strikeouts, Javier is now leading the Astros in that department in 2022 – Framber Valdez has 169 while Verlander trails with 154.
Cristian Javier, White Castle Special.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 14, 2022
The pointing & laughing at Baez is a bit mean tho. pic.twitter.com/bzE9WrXXap
The Astros, who are 12-3 in their last 15 games, cracked the scoreboard in the fourth inning via Kyle Tucker. King Tuck swatted his 27th home run of the season and fifth in his last 10 contests, a solo shot off Wentz.
King Tuck in back-to-back games. pic.twitter.com/eMGhm4VzSN— Houston Astros (@astros) September 14, 2022
With Javier (9-9, 2.87 ERA) throwing a gem and their bullpen in good shape, the Astros didn’t need much to win against one of the worst teams in baseball. But they added one last run in the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly from Alex Bregman.
To face the last third of the contest, the Astros brought red-hot Bryan Abreu to pitch the seventh. Abreu allowed a solo homer to Javy Báez that accounted for his first earned run since July 13. His streak of scoreless appearances came to an end after 19 games, a span in which he registered only eight hits, seven walks, and 29 strikeouts over 21 2/3 innings. In spite of giving up the four-bagger, Abreu struck out two Tigers.
Then, Ryne Stanek took over the mound for the eighth. He also surrendered a hit and was hit hard by Riley Greene. Fortunately, Chas McCormick made this outstanding grab on the track to end the inning…
Closer Ryan Pressly punched out two more hitters to seal the win and pick up his 28th save of the campaign.
A four-game series against the Athletics is what’s next for the Astros on their schedule. From Thursday to Sunday, they’ll host Oakland for one last time at Minute Maid Park this year.