Another outing, another quality start from Framber Valdez. On Sunday afternoon, the lefty was sharp again and picked up his 16th win of the season, throwing his 25th straight quality start, the highest mark by any pitcher in baseball history within a season. Also with Yordan Álvarez and Martín Maldonado’s bat, the Astros smashed the Athletics with an 11-2 score.
History.— Houston Astros (@astros) September 18, 2022
Framber Valdez records his 25th consecutive quality start, a new MLB single-season record. pic.twitter.com/rPxQSIDtpV
On 87 pitches (57 strikes), Valdez fired seven strikeouts and gave up only one walk over six innings of four-hit, two-run ball. Valdez is now one quality start away from tying the all-time record, set by Bob Gibson (1967-1968) and Jacob deGrom (2018-2019) with 26.
Valdez finished the season with three starts against the A’s and his numbers were absolutely dominant. Across 23 innings, the 28-year-old allowed 10 hits and three earned runs, with six bases on balls and 17 punchouts. He had a 1.17 ERA.
But in a 15-hit, 11-run effort by Houston, the offense deserves some credit as well. The two big contributors were Yordan and Maldo, going 6-for-9 with two doubles, a homer, eight runs batted in, and five runs scored combined. In fact, Maldonado was perfect, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs and four runs – his first time as an Astro with four hits in a game.
However, it was Yordan’s bases-loaded double that cracked the scoreboard in the third inning, in which Houston scored five times. After his two-bagger, Alex Bregman hit one of his own to drive in Yordan while Yuli Gurriel brought Bregman home with an RBI single.
The Astros scored twice in the fourth and once in the sixth before adding three more runs in the seventh inning with a three-run shot by Maldonado, his 13th homer of the year. Houston catcher is one homer shy from tying his season-high (14, back in 2017 with the Angels).
Phil Maton, Rafael Montero, and Ryan Pressly threw the final third of the contest and punched out five Athletics with no walks and only one hit combined.
On Monday, the Astros will visit the Rays at Tropicana Field for their first series of 2022, a three-game matchup. To open the series, Luis García will face Drew Rasmussen.