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Astros Take the Nats 5-4 Despite Themselves

Jose Abreu saved another Valdez gem despite his teammates’ best efforts in the ninth inning.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Houston Astros
Astros first baseman Jose Abreu (79) is congratulated by Houston Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker (30) after crossing home plate for the winning run on a throwing error against the Washington Nationals 
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

In the game thread introduction tonight, I lamented that in the prolonged absence of Yordan Alvarez, Jose Abreu and Yainier Diaz would have to become “mini-Yordans.”

Tonight, Jose Abreu went full-Yordan, with three RBI, a two-run, two-out double in the first inning, a solo homer in the fourth with an EV of 109 MPH, and a game-winning, walk-off run scored in the ninth.

In the fourth inning, Diaz followed Abreu with a homer of his own, certainly qualifying for “mini Yordan” status.

The new Yordans provided all the offensive punch for the Stros against Nats starter Josiah Gray.

Meanwhile, Astros ace Framber Valdez went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits, no walks with seven strikeouts.

Hector Neris held the Nats in the eighth, but a horrible meltdown by the once-great Ryan Pressly cost the Astros the lead. Sloppy defense played a huge part. A throwing error by Alex Bregman put the leadoff hitter Joey Meneses on second, followed by an RBI double by Corey Dickerson. Dickerson went to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a brain-dead error by Pressly, who made an errant throw home on a grounder instead of taking the easy out at first.

Dominic Smith then hit an RBI triple to tie the score. However, Pressly managed two groundouts to preserve a 4-4 tie going into the bottom of the ninth.

Kyle Tucker started the inning with a single and advanced to second on a Jose Abreu infield hit. With one out, Tucker stole third, and Corey Julks walked to load the bases.

With the infield in, Jake Meyers hit a grounder straight to shortstop. Tucker was out at home, and it appeared the catcher’s throw to first would beat Meyers for a 6-2-3 double play. But first baseman Michael Chavis couldn’t catch the throw that hit Meyers’ helmet, allowing Abreu to score from second and, in an amazing reversal of fortune, resulting in an Astros 5-4 win and a series win against the Nats.

The Nationals argued that Meyers was inside the baseline when the ball hit him, constituting interference, and they had a good argument.

A nice win but uncharacteristically sloppy for the Astros. With so many injuries, the Astros can't afford to play like that going forward, and Ryan Pressly needs to re-discover his mojo. In what is the stupidest scoring rule in baseball, a reliever can blow a three-run lead and still get the W. Yeah, Pressly is the winning pitcher.

Box Score HERE.