Houston's pitching had a rough night

Padres overpower Astros to even up series

Framber Valdez had one rough inning in an otherwise strong start in Saturday's game against the Padres. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a late go-ahead inning to take the opener on Friday, the Astros tried to get an impressive series victory with a win on Saturday in San Diego. The Padres denied that, though, by outslugging Houston to take the game.

Final Score: Padres 10, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 79-56, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Joe Musgrove (10-8)

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez (9-5)

Astros strike first, Padres respond against Valdez

After scoring the final runs of Friday night's opener, Houston's offense started the scoring in Saturday's middle game. With two outs in the top of the first, they strung together three straight singles, the third an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to put the Astros in front 1-0. Kyle Tucker doubled the lead in the top of the second, blasting a leadoff homer to make it back-to-back at-bats with homers.

San Diego responded by taking over the offensive momentum in the bottom of the inning, tagging Framber Valdez with four runs on four hits and a balk, putting Houston behind 4-2. Valdez rebounded well from that rough inning, getting through six innings and not allowing any more runs after the second. His final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 92 P.

Padres keep scoring to even up the series

Cristian Javier took over for Valdez in the bottom of the seventh, a rough inning for him. He allowed a leadoff walk, which turned into a two-run homer by Manny Machado. He followed that with another walk, and with two outs, watched that turn into another two-run blast, extending San Diego's lead to 8-2.

After another scoreless inning by Houston's offense in the top of the eighth, Josh James took over out of the bullpen, making his 2021 debut in return from injury. He would also deal with the damage of a walk, allowing one to set up a two-out two-run homer to extend the Padres' lead to 10-2. That score would go final, with the Astros going down scoreless again in the top of the ninth, evening up the series 1-1 to set up a rubber game.

Up Next: The finale of this series will begin at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Luis Garcia (10-6, 3.23 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, going opposite Chris Paddack (7-6, 4.98 ERA) for San Diego.

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1. Davis Mills had an up-and-down day under center Friday. One play saw Mills drop back and try to get rid of the ball as Jonathan Greenard was rushing him only to have Greenard leap up and intercept Mills for what would have been an interception returned for a score.

2. A few plays later Davis Mills showcased his short memory. Mills surveyed the field, looked off the safety, and pitched a strike to Brevin Jordan over the middle, wide open, for a touchdown.

3. Davis Mills doesn’t stack bad plays. It is rare to see multiple bad plays happen in a row and Mills be the cause, or a cause, of the play not working. When he misses something, he usually makes up for it the next play.

4. It was a makeshift offensive line on Friday. Max Scharping played a lot at left guard. Charlie Heck saw some snaps at left tackle while Laremy Tunsil took a breather. Veteran lineman Cedric Ogbuehi played some at right tackle. There was plenty of work emphasized on the rushing attack Friday. The offensive line was fine, nothing special. I would say slight edge to the defense overall.

5. Rookie Kenyon Green didn’t practice. Right tackle Tytus Howard didn’t practice either. Pro Football Network is reporting Tytus Howard is out with a positive Covid test. Kenyon Green was banged up last practice, but Lovie Smith expects both back in the coming days.

6.The offensive line had its hands full with the defensive line today. Jonathan Greenard made the above-mentioned play of the practice with an interception. It felt constantly like there was some level of success from the defensive line. Not to say they dominated, but I would think the defense is happy with their day.

7. Maliek Collins has been a nice player in camp. He looks a bit quicker than last year. Collins downplayed how many “close” plays he had last year citing that everyone knows the saying “close but no cigar.” I asked him if he expected a lot of cigars this year. He chuckled and said yes. Teammate Roy Lopez gushed about what he believes Collins can be for this team and called his teammate one of the best defensive tackles in the league.

8. I almost wonder if quiet Derek Stingley days are good days. Stingley wasn’t involved in a lot of plays, but I know Davis Mills saw him on Friday. Mills dropped back on one play and made a read to his left seeing Chris Moore. Stingley darted from coverage towards Moore causing Mills to move off Moore and head to Nico Collins for a score. Yes, the defense allowed a touchdown, but Stingley did his job.

9. Rookie safety Jalen Pitre is a “starting” safety for the team according to Lovie Smith. Pitre had an interception, depending on who you ask, in practice. It is clear the Texans trust him and have put a lot on his plate. I would expect to see a lot of the rookie safety, good or bad, this season.

10. Lovie Smith praised the team’s depth at linebacker earlier in camp. I scoffed a little at the notion, but there seems to be a new linebacker making a play each day. Christian Kirksey had a nice stop in the run game today. Kevin Pierre-Louis, who played very little last year, has flashed. There’s some depth here, despite my skepticism.

11. Ka'imi Fairbairn doesn’t have a challenger in camp this year. I believed this offseason should have seen at the very least someone to challenge the kicker heading into his seventh year in the league. He’s been solid in camp so far, but there have been some misses. It is tough to judge distance, but the team clearly has faith in him with no challenger in sight.

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