BULLPEN BLOWS ANOTHER GAME

Astros' bullpen woes continue in series opening loss to Giants

Astros' bullpen woes continue in series opening loss to Giants
Giants defeat Astros 4-3 in extra innings. Composite Getty Image.

Austin Slater lined the game-winning single into left field with one out in the 10th inning, rallying the San Francisco Giants from two runs down in the inning to beat the Houston Astros 4-3 on Monday night.

Slater's second career game-winning hit came off Rafael Montero (1-2) after he also had one on April 8, 2022, against the Marlins. It did so much for Slater given his struggles with injuries and finding his hitting groove this season.

Slater just wished he could have notched his first extra-base hit of the year — but maybe this will give him some much-needed momentum going forward. He had popped up in foul territory as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.

“Whenever you can come through big for your team in a spot when you've been struggling it feels that much better,” said Slater, who just returned last week from a concussion. “It definitely lifted a big weight off my shoulders.”

Randy Rodríguez (2-1) recorded the final out of the 10th for the win.

Houston had gone ahead by two runs in the top half on a sacrifice fly by Victor Caratini that scored runner Joey Loperfido from second base and Alex Bregman’s RBI single.

The Astros challenged that Trey Cabbage was called out at first on a bunt against Erik Miller to begin the 10th and the call was overturned on replay review for a single.

Montero started the 10th and immediately gave up Brett Wisely's RBI single then Heliot Ramos singled when shortstop Jeremy Pena had to reach and booted his skipping grounder. Patrick Bailey followed with an RBI single that made it 3-3.

Mike Yastrzemski broke up a scoreless game with an RBI triple in the sixth inning only for the Astros to tie it on a sacrifice fly by Pena in the seventh.

Mauricio Dubon hit a two-out single in the ninth off Giants closer Camilo Doval that put the go-ahead run on second. But Doval struck out Jose Abreu to end the threat.

This marked Dubon's first visit back to Oracle Park since being traded by San Francisco to the Astros in May 2022.

“I love it, I like the guys,” he said before the game after catching up with former teammate Logan Webb on the field.

Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti allowed one run and four hits over 5 2/3 innings, striking out six with three walks.

San Francisco lefty Kyle Harrison retired the first nine Houston hitters in order before Jose Altuve's leadoff single in the fourth. Harrison was coming off back-to-back losing starts for the first time this season — allowing seven earned runs and 20 hits over 11 innings. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter over 6 1/3 innings this time, surrendering one run and four hits.

“This has been as efficient as he's been all year at this point in time,” manager Bob Melvin said.

San Francisco, currently facing interleague matchups for four of five series including a nine-game stretch against the Rangers, Astros and Angels, had homered in eight straight games dating to June 1.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: C Yainer Diaz was held out of the starting lineup still dealing with a sore right index finger after taking a foul tip Sunday. His range of motion is still limited. ... RF Kyle Tucker, who went on the injured list Friday with a bruised right shin from fouling a ball off his leg last Monday, is improving as he uses crutches and could come off the IL when eligible Friday.

Giants: 3B Matt Chapman missed just his fourth start of the season because of a sore hamstring but is expected to return Tuesday. ... OF Jung Hoo Lee (left shoulder surgery) will begin his rehab program this week in San Francisco. ... LHP Blake Snell (strained left groin) is throwing off flat ground and likely to progress to the mound later in the week. ... INF Nick Ahmed (sprained left wrist) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Triple-A Sacramento at Reno. ... RHP Alex Cobb (shoulder) will throw a bullpen Tuesday. ... INF Wilmer Flores is nursing knee soreness and could play again by Tuesday.

UP NEXT

RHP Ronel Blanco (5-2, 2.78 ERA) pitches Tuesday night for the Astros opposite RHP Jordan Hicks (4-2, 2.82).

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The NBA Draft takes place this Wednesday and Thursday. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

This year's NBA draft features potential starters and valuable role players more so than no-doubt future stars. That becomes evident when looking at the headlining prospects among big men.

French teenager Alexandre Sarr from France could go No. 1 overall with his length and defensive potential, key reasons why he has thrice topped the AP's NBA mock draft. Meanwhile, Donovan Clingan from two-time reigning national champion UConn also will likely be a high pick as a rim-protecting force.

It's just unclear how quickly any will be ready for a leading role in the league, particularly offensively.

Here's a look at some of the top players in the position:

Alexandre Sarr, France

STRENGTHS: The athleticism, mobility and length offer significant upside at both ends of the court for the 7-footer, whether as a rim protector and versatile defender or as a rim-runner off pick-and-rolls for lobs on offense. Sarr, 19, spent two seasons with the Overtime Elite developmental program for top prospects in the United States, then last season with Perth in the Australian-based National Basketball League as part of its “Next Stars” program. He ranked tied for second there by averaging 1.5 blocks despite averaging just 17.3 minutes.

He finished strong by averaging 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 assists in his last six games with Perth. He also ranked among the best at the combine with a wingspan of better than 7-4.

CONCERNS: He'll need time to add bulk to a lean 224-pound frame and handle the rigors of an NBA season. Developing more consistent 3-point range (he shot 29% in the NBL last season) will be key to fully realizing his defense-stretching potential.

Donovan Clingan, UConn

STRENGTHS: He is big, strong and surprisingly nimble for his imposing 7-2, 282-pound frame, which made him an interior shot-blocking force in the Huskies' run to college basketball's first repeat men's title in 17 years. He ranked eighth in Division I by averaging 2.5 blocks per game despite playing just 22.6 minutes, then had some massive games in the NCAA Tournament. That included eight blocks and 14 rebounds in the second-round win against Northwestern, followed by 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a regional final against Illinois (the Illini were 0 for 19 on Clingan-challenged shots ) and four more swats against Alabama in the Final Four.

The 20-year-old sophomore runs the floor well despite his bulk and is a strong finisher. He also was tied for first at the combine in standing reach (9-7) and was second in wingspan (nearly 7-7).

CONCERNS: It's unclear how well he might handle switches to defend outside the paint in space. While he shot nearly 64% to rank among the national leaders, he has rarely had to produce much outside of the paint. He also shot just 55.8% from the line in two seasons.

Kel'el Ware, Indiana

STRENGTHS: The 20-year-old sophomore has flashed intriguing two-way potential to make himself a first-round prospect, first in a season at Oregon and then last year at Indiana. He averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season as a starter for the Hoosiers. He made 17 of 40 3-pointers (.425), indicating the potential for growth in terms of pulling defenders outside.

The 7-footer has a nearly 7-5 wingspan and tested well at the NBA combine by ranking second among bigs in the lane agility test (second at 10.97 seconds) and shuttle run (second, 2.91).

CONCERNS: He'll need to add strength to his 230-pound frame and improve at the line, where he shot just 63.4% last year.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

STRENGTHS: The 6-11, 230-pound sophomore could play either forward or center as a first-round prospect. He was a steady producer by averaging 15.8 points and 8.6 rebounds with the Blue Devils. He also more than doubled his shot-blocking totals last year (54, up from 26 as a freshman) when having to work as Duke's interior anchor after Dereck Lively II's departure for the NBA. He has shown improved mobility and footwork after surgery on his hips before last season, and he has improved as an outside shooter (34.8% from 3 last year, up from 28.2% in 2022-23).

CONCERNS: Filipowski isn't an elite athlete, so he could be vulnerable defensively in space as well as struggle against physical play. He slipped at the foul line last year, shooting just 67.1% after checking in at 76.5% as a freshman.

Others of Note

—ZACH EDEY: The 7-4, 299-pound Purdue center is a two-time Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year who led the Boilermakers to last year’s NCAA title game as the national scoring leader (25.2) and Division I’s No. 2 rebounder (12.2). He closed his career with 37 points in the title-game loss to UConn. He has a ridiculous wingspan of nearly 7-11 to go with the ability to shoot over any defender. There is uncertainty whether the first-round prospect is athletic enough to handle defensive switches or guarding in space.

—DARON HOLMES II: The 6-9, 236-pound junior from Dayton spent the past two seasons putting up big numbers, averaging 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 56.7%. He also hit 38.6% of his 3s last year and averaged 2.1 blocks for his college career. The Atlantic 10 co-player of the year and league defensive player of the year could go in the back half of the first round, though he is a bit undersized among bigs.

—YVES MISSI: The 6-11, 229-pound center from Baylor came on as the season went on as a one-and-done prospect with bouncy athleticism, helping him finish at the rim (61.4% shooting) and block shots (1.5). That could make him a pick-and-roll or lob threat in the pros, though the 20-year-old from Cameroon will have to expand his offense beyond those crowd-charging dunks and improve at the line (61.6%).

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