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J.P. France Does It Again. Shuts Down Guardians en Route to Astros 7-3 win

Alvarez’s 19th homer the main offensive contribution

Cleveland Guardians v Houston Astros
J.P. France #68 of the Houston Astros pitches in the first inning against the Cleveland Guardians at Minute Maid Park 
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The J.P. France train keeps rollin on. And it doesn’t look like it’s stopping for anyone.

Tonight the train rolled over the Guardians. France pitched his ninth quality start in his last ten starts. He only allowed two runs, scattering seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts. His ERA since June 1st is the fourth lowest of all starters since June 1st.

Where did this guy come from?

At first, it looked like regression had finally come. The Guardians got two quick runs in the second on two singles, a double, and a sac fly. Meanwhile, The Guradians’ new acquisition, Noah Syndergaard, the pitcher formerly known as Thor, held the Astros scoreless for five innings despite coming into the game with a 7+ ERA.

But in the sixth inning, the Astros came alive. Jose Altuve opened with a walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a Jeremy Pena fielder’s choice. Pena’s hit struck Syndergaard on the ankle, which forced the pitcher out of the game. Kyle Tucker then hit an RBI single off Eli Morgan, followed by an Alex Bregman walk...and then...a majestic Yordan Alvarez three-run homer to right.

The Astros added another run in the seventh when Altuve and Pena walked, and Altuve scored after two wild pitches.

The Astros added two more in the eighth inning after Yainer Diaz led off with a double and scored on a Jake Meyers single. Meyers would later score on a Kyle Tucker sac fly.

The Guardians added a run when Ryne Stanek loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but Ryan Pressly saved the day, getting the next three batters and allowing only the inherited runner at third to score on a sac fly.

The win tonight leaves the Astros only a half-game behind the Rangers for first place in the AL West.

Tomorrow Framber Valdez takes the mound for the series win.

Box score here.