On their third try, the Houston Astros won their 100th game of the 2022 season, but it didn’t come easy. It’s the fifth time that Houston has reached the triple-digit plateau, and the fourth time in the past five (full) seasons. Box Score
Framber Valdez answered the call for his 29th start of the season, and failed to earn his 17th victory to tie Justin Verlander for the American League lead. He was opposed by Mike Baumann (1-3, 4.29) in just his second career start.
After two scoreless innings on each side, Jose Altuve got the Astros on the board first with his 26th home run of the season. It’s the third time he’s reached the total through his career, and with his 190th home run overall, he’s reached number 395 on the all-time list to tie with Glenn Davis.
Tuve adds two. pic.twitter.com/TxDBtP7fhd— Houston Astros (@astros) September 24, 2022
In the fourth, the Orioles fought back for five runs, on a Rougned Odor two-RBI-single, a Jorge Mateo RBI-groundout, and a Cedric Mullins (15) two-run home run for a 5-2 lead.
Unlike the past two games, Houston’s offense did not remain silent. After the Astros loaded the bases with one out, Jeremy Peña hit a two-run single to cut Baltimore’s lead to one run. Yordan Alvarez tied it in the next at bat with an RBI-single. Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly got the lead back for them, 6-5.
Despite Valdez’ rocky start, he entered the bottom of the fifth inning in line to be the winning pitcher of record if the Orioles didn’t score again. Unfortunately, Anthony Santander (28) led off with a homer to tie the game at six. This time, there was no pulling of Valdez’ chestnuts off the fire by Houston’s offense.
Valdez opened the sixth by surrendering a single and a walk, and Dusty Baker actually kept him in the game after visiting the mound. His loyalty was not rewarded when Valdez lost the lead two batters later on a Ryan Mountcastle RBI-single for a 7-6 Baltimore lead. I understand that Dusty wanted to leave him in so he could extend his record streak, but the writing was on the wall for a few innings already.
Valdez was finally pulled in favor of Phil Maton at that point. Valdez failed to get a Quality Start, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits and a walk over 5 1⁄3 innings. He struck out six and got 63-of-103 pitches over the plate.
The score remained one run in Baltimore’s favor until the eighth inning, when Yuli Gurriel tied it at 7-apiece with an RBI-double.
Cuban connection. pic.twitter.com/XHlBlWvp5i— Houston Astros (@astros) September 25, 2022
Santander answered the bell for Baltimore in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run home run, leading off against new reliever Rafael Montero for a 9-7 lead.
Down to possibly their last chance, Houston led off the ninth with a Christian Vázquez single and an Altuve walk. After Aledmys Díaz flew out to center field, Alvarez added a single to load the bases. Bregman grounded into a fielder’s choice, knocking in Vázquez and trimming the lead to one for Kyle Tucker.
IF NOBODY GOT ME... pic.twitter.com/L4SneyUIHX— Houston Astros (@astros) September 25, 2022
After Tucker tied it up, Bregman was standing on third with the go-ahead run for Gurriel.
STROS TAKE THE LEAD. pic.twitter.com/Krr9knzFLJ— Houston Astros (@astros) September 25, 2022
With a brand-sparkling-new 11-9 lead, the Astros called on Ryan Pressly to close the deal. After he gave up a leadoff homer to Odor (13), he got the rest of the side out to earn his 31st save of the season.
That was just a circus. An offensive circus, and a real relief after enduring two straight shutouts to these boys. The Astros look to close the series tomorrow with a split.