It was a pitching duel between two ace pitchers and fellow 2023 champions. One won the Cy Young award last year, the other was fifth in the balloting. Tonight, the one who came in fifth was the better pitcher.
The Astros started by putting up a three-spot in the third inning against Mets starter Justin Verlander. Corey Julks led off with a double to right field, who scored on a Jose Altuve sac fly. Altuve scored on an Alex Bregman homer, his 10th.
Dollar Dog Night with a side of Breggy Bomb. pic.twitter.com/xhLOsPecWP— Houston Astros (@astros) June 21, 2023
The Astros added another run in the seventh when Altuve singled Julks home from second with two outs. Julks got on first on a swinging bunt single and advanced on a fielder’s choice to get in scoring position.
Verlander finished with seven innings pitched, eight hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Good, but not Cy Young, and not good enough against Framber Valdez.
Astros starter Framber Valdez was nearly perfect through seven innings, allowing only a hit and a walk with nine strikeouts up to that point. The Mets figured him out in the eighth inning scoring two runs on two singles, a double and a sacrifice fly.
Valdez finished the evening pitching eight innings, allowing two runs on four hits, one walk, with nine Ks. He had 19 swinging strikes out of 94 pitches, 62 of which were strikes. It was a dominant performance until he began to run out of gas in the eighth.
Ryan Pressly replaced Valdez in the ninth for the save. Although he allowed a walk with two outs, he struck out Tommy Phan to secure the win and break the Astros’ five-game losing streak.
The Astros go for the series win tomorrow. Early start, 1:10 CT. The pitching matchup favors the Astros: Cristian Javier vs Tylor Megill.