Houston has taken the first three games

Valdez returns to form as Astros lock up series against Red Sox

Framber Valdez returned to form on Wednesday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Victorious in the first two games of this series, the Astros tried to lock up a series victory against the Red Sox by taking the third of four in this set on Wednesday night. They accomplished their mission, getting a couple of runs to back up Framber Valdez, who tossed an impressive start his second time out in 2021.

Final Score: Astros 2, Red Sox 1

Astros' Record: 31-24, currently tied for first in the AL West (Oakland A's in play)

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Nick Pivetta (6-1)

Both teams get lengthy firsts, Valdez rebounds for an impressive start

Boston's top of the first did not instill much optimism that Framber Valdez would be able to get a chance to get deep into the game and build upon the success of his first start the week prior. They sent seven batters to the plate, loading the bases with two outs as Valdez would walk a run in to make it a 1-0 Red Sox lead before getting out of it.

Houston gave him two runs to work with, getting a lengthy bottom of that same inning by loading the bases and getting a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel, then taking a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI groundout by Myles Straw. Valdez went to work to turn things around, retiring eleven in a row after that bases-loaded walk, not allowing another baserunner until a one-out single in the top of the fifth, which he would strand. He powered on by erasing a two-out single in the sixth and doing the same in the seventh, finishing his night with his tenth strikeout to cap off a seven-inning one-run performance. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 10 K, 102 P.

Houston locks up the series win

Valdez's great start once again left Houston's bullpen with a short length to cover, and Ryne Stanek did his part in the top of the eighth by getting a 1-2-3 inning to hold the one-run lead. Ryan Pressly came on for the save opportunity in the top of the ninth, getting it by erasing two hits to close out the win and giving Houston the series victory with a chance at a four-game sweep in the finale.

Up Next: An afternoon game awaits these two teams for the fourth and final matchup of this series. It'll get underway at 1:10 PM Central and features Martin Perez (3-2, 3.55 ERA) for Boston going opposite Jake Odorizzi (0-2, 6.75 ERA).

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The Houston Astros haven't counted on their catchers to deliver much offensive production in recent years, with defensive specialist Martin Maldonado being their primary catcher for the last few seasons. But top hitting prospect Yainer Diaz is making a case to get more playing time behind the plate and at first, based on his ability to swing the bat.

Until recently, he hasn't been able to get any meaningful playing time. Even David Hensley, who was optioned to Sugar Land a few weeks ago, has more plate appearances than Diaz this season.

So how does manager Dusty Baker find more opportunities for Diaz? Should he use him more often as a DH, along with getting time at first base and catcher?

And what does that mean for Jose Abreu, Martin Maldonado, and to a lesser extent, former first round pick and Sugar Land Space Cowboy catcher, Korey Lee?

Plus, considering how good the Astros outfielders have been this year, does the team need to grab another bat before the trade deadline?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

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