Astros blown out by Pirates

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 14-2 loss

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 14-2 loss
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After getting their 50th win of the season in the series opener against the Pirates on Tuesday night, the Astros sought to continue winning and secure a series win on Wednesday. Here is a recap of the middle game:

Final Score: Pirates 14, Astros 2.

Record: 50-31, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Dario Agrazal (1-0, 2.70 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-4, 4.57 ERA).

1) Valdez digs early hole

Framber Valdez would not be able to provide Houston with a better start than his last outing, and in fact would struggle even more heavily against the Pirates than he did the Yankees last weekend. Valdez struggled with his command, getting into bad counts that Pittsburgh would take advantage of, scoring six runs over the first three innings.

Valdez would finish the third, but with his shaky command and already having the Astros behind 6-1, was lifted in the forth to set up six innings for the bullpen. Valdez’s final line: 3 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HR.

Chris Devenski was able to get through two perfect innings in the forth and fifth, but would allow a two-run home run in the top of the sixth to extend the Pirates’ lead to 8-1. Hector Rondon and Collin McHugh would get through the seventh and eighth innings before Tyler White was thrown into action in the ninth to close things out. He’d allow six runs and only get two outs before Max Stassi would be brought in for the last out.

2) Springer’s leadoff dinger highlights offense

Already facing a 2-0 deficit before getting to the plate, George Springer did his part to try and shift the momentum back Houston’s way by launching a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the first to cut the lead in half.

That would be the only notable offense for Houston until the eight when they'd get an RBI-groundout from Yordan Alvarez to make it an 8-2 game, but that would be as close as they’d get to a rally.

Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this series with the Pirates tomorrow with an afternoon game at 1:10 PM. Houston will have Brad Peacock (6-5, 3.62 ERA) on the mound to face former-Astro Joe Musgrove (5-7, 4.57 ERA) with the series on the line.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Welcome back, Justin! Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night at the Washington Nationals.

Houston manager Joe Espada made the announcement Wednesday.

“Getting him back is huge because it brings a level of confidence to our team, a boost of confidence that we’re going to get someone who’s been an MVP, a Cy Young (winner) on the mound,” Espada said. “It's (good) for the morale and to get stuff started and moving in the right direction.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He made two rehabilitation starts, the first for Triple-A Sugar Land on April 7 before Saturday’s start for Double-A Corpus Christi.

Espada wouldn't say how many pitches the 41-year-old would be limited to but said they'll keep an eye on his workload.

“We've got to be careful how hard we push him early,” Espada said. “I know he’s going to want to go and stay out there and give us an opportunity to win, but we've got to be cautious of how hard we push him early in the season.”

Verlander wasn’t thrilled with the results in his rehabilitation starts, but he said Monday that those games were valuable in getting him prepared to come off the IL.

He allowed seven hits and six runs — five earned — in four innings against Frisco on Saturday. He struck out three, walked one and threw 51 of 77 pitches for strikes.

Verlander allowed six earned runs and struck out six while pitching into the fourth inning for Sugar Land on April 7.

The Astros have gotten off to a tough start with Verlander and fellow starters Framber Valdez and José Urquidy on the injured list. They enter Wednesday's games last in the AL West with a 6-13 record.

Espada hopes Verlander can be the boost the team needs to get on track.

“It’s good to get him back in the rotation,” Espada said. “With what he means to this club just to get him back on track, getting some innings from him (to) build our rotation with the pieces that we need to move forward is exciting.”

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