The Astros looked like their old dominant World Champions selves today in all aspects of the game. And it started early.
Right out the gate the Astros scored one in the first and it could have been worse for the Pirates. A Kyle Tucker single scored Alex Bregman for the only run, but Yordan Alvarez was thrown out trying for third to end the threat.
in the second inning the Astros did not miss their opportunity to pour it on, putting up three runs, starting with a Jeremy Pena double followed by an RBI Mauricio Dubon single. Martin Maldonado then walked, followed by a Chas McCormick sacrifice that sent Pena to third and Maldonado to second. They both scored on an Alvarez single to left field.
Although a Ji Man Choi solo homer in the second brought the Pirates a little closer, in the third inning the Astros got the run back with consecutive two-out singles by Corey Julks, Dubon and Maldonado.
The Astros added two more in the fourth inning with consecutive singles by Bregman and Alvarez, and with one out, a just barely single over the head of pulled in second baseman Mark Mathias by Kyle Tucker scored them both from third and second base. This prompted the Pirates to replace starter Roansy Contreras with Will Crowe, who worked around a shortstop error to end the threat.
The Pirates picked up a run in the fourth on a Carlos Santana lead-off double and a Rodolpho Castro two-out single.
The Astros added their final run in the seventh inning with a one-out double by McCormick followed by an RBI single by Bregman.
The Astros starting pitching looks like it might be finding its footing. This was Framber Valdez’s second straight quality start and the fourth QS for the Astros staff in the last six games.
Tonight Valdez was the old Framberin Man, allowing five walks but only three hits and two runs in seven innings pitched.
On the offense side, the Astros got eight runs without a homer with the help of 13 hits and 6-17 with runners in scoring position. The bottom of the order was 5-14, and Dubon was 3-5 and is now hitting .357. Who thought he’d win the competition for second base based on his hitting?
Tomorrow Cristian Javier hopes to extend the Astros winning “streak” to three games and get the team back to .500. Mitch Keller is his mound opponent.
5:30 game time.