Houston gets back in the win column
Altuve's slam helps push Astros out of losing skid in win over Indians
After a disappointing fourth loss in a row on Wednesday at home to finish the sweep by the very beatable Orioles, the Astros picked up a four-game series and road trip in Cleveland on Thursday in need of a win to keep pace and maintain a now thin division lead. Thanks to a great start by Framber Valdez and a timely grand slam by Jose Altuve, they would get the victory.
Final Score: Astros 7, Indians 2
Astros' Record: 49-33, first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-1)
Losing Pitcher: J.C. Mejia (1-3)
Cleveland strikes first, but Valdez battles through seven
After a quick bottom of the first for Framber Valdez, it looked like his night might unravel in the second. He faced seven batters that frame, with a run scoring on a wild pitch after a leadoff walk and single put runners on the corners. Cleveland went on to load the bases with one out, but Valdez escaped to limit the damage to one run.
The Indians doubled their new lead in the next inning, getting back-to-back one-out doubles to make it 2-0. After that, he would cruise the rest of the way, erasing a couple of walks and a hit over the next four frames to leave with a quality start and ultimately a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 107 P.
Altuve's slam turns the tide
Houston began battling back from the 2-0 hole in the top of the fourth, getting a solo blast from Yordan Alvarez to cut it in half. They loaded the bases on three straight batters to start the top of the fifth, bringing Jose Altuve to the plate, who came through with a grand slam to give the Astros their first lead of the night, 5-2.
Load 'em up. @JoseAltuve27 will take care of the rest. pic.twitter.com/pd6td1ektc
— MLB (@MLB) July 2, 2021
They extended it to a four-run advantage later in the inning, getting a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel. After Cleveland went to their bullpen, Michael Brantley would give his former teammates a taste of what they've been missing, hitting a solo home run to make it a 7-2 game in the top of the seventh.
Houston ends losing skid to take the opener
After Valdez, Houston brought in Peter Solomon for the bottom of the eighth to hold on to the five-run lead, and he would do so by getting out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam to strand all three runners and send the game to the ninth. Having not worked in the last few days, Ryan Pressly came on in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, putting the Astros back in the win column to end their losing streak.
Up Next: Game two of this four-game set will be another 6:10 PM Central start on Friday. Lance McCullers Jr. (5-1, 2.94 ERA) will be on the mound to try and help Houston get back-to-back wins, while Cleveland will send out Sam Hentges (1-2, 7.32 ERA).
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