Facing each other for the first time since the World Series, the Phillies got with the best part out of Minute Maid Park to open a three-game series against the Astros. On Friday night, Framber Valdez got into a pitching duel with also-righty Aaron Nola, who came out with the win as Philadelphia defeated Houston 3-1.
The Astros kept struggling offensively and their inconsistencies showed up, though we need to point out the great performance by Nola. The Phillies’ starter used all of his five pitches and induced an average exit velocity of 78.4 miles per hour with his stellar knuckle curveball.
Nola was outstanding this time against the ‘Stros, going eight innings of three-hit, one-run ball, no walks, and six strikeouts.
All the damage the Astros were able to infringe against Nola was a game-tying, one-run shot by Jeremy Peña in the first inning. Peña keeps raking when he sees a Phillies pitcher. It was Jeremy’s fifth long ball of the season…
After that home run, the Astros almost had another one-run four-bagger had not been for Nick Castellanos’ great catch to rob Alex Bregman.
Beyond that, the Astros failed to put runners on base all game long as they got only three hits (two singles).
On the other hand, Framber Valdez was pretty sharp as well but wasn’t backed up offensively.
Valdez, who took his third loss of the season (2-3), completed seven innings. He allowed eight hits and three earned runs, didn’t walk anybody, and struck out three. He gave up a solo homer by Kyle Schwarber to crack the scoreboard.
On Saturday, both teams will fight each other in the second game of the series. Cristian Javier will face righty Zack Wheeler. Game starts at 4:10 pm CT.