The transformation ended Friday afternoon. The Astros presented their finished product that night. Familiar problems plagued the bullpen, even in its fresh state. A five-run lead dwindled to 2 due to it. Somehow, hope never seemed lost. Kendall Graveman grabbed the baseball. during a ballpark going bonkers, someone finally brought stability. The Astros acquired Graveman to urge a game’s most meaningful out. he’s better by trade but has no ego due to it. He promised to require the ball whenever Houston saw fit. The go-ahead run stood reception plate. The tying run led off first base. Never did the Astros need him more.
Graveman’s Houston debut mirrored much of what the team will expect for the subsequent three months. He quelled a rally, protected a lead, and looked nasty doing it. Twelve of his 19 pitches were strikes. He punched out three of the four batters he saw. The bridge he built to closer Ryan Pressly felt indestructible. for therefore much of the season, the Astros couldn’t construct one in the least . Graveman got four outs before Pressly finished a 9-6 win against the Giants. Aledmys Díaz delivered a solo home run within the ninth inning to offer his closer more comfort. The Giants struck three straight hits against Pressly within the ninth, allowing that late run to loom large. The Astros scored eight or more runs for a fourth consecutive game.
Jose Altuve had two home runs to pace the team’s 13-hit outburst. His sixth-inning slam should have offered enough separation. Even with an overhauled bullpen, no advantage can feel safe. Blake Taylor and Ryne Stanek yielded three runs across the sixth and seventh. A dropped fly by Kyle Tucker in the center field didn’t help Stanek’s outing. Neither did throwing only 14 of 24 pitches for strikes. A truncated start from Framber Valdez put an unsustainable workload on the bullpen. He finished only five innings and threw 89 pitches. Houston added much-needed depth to its bullpen. Asking it — or the other major league bullpen — to acquire 12 outs is flirting with danger.
Valdez did it despite a pleasant beginning. He sent down the primary seven Giants he saw. Calamity followed. He lost all pity in the strike zone during a disastrous third inning. Valdez needed 36 pitches to end it, ruining the efficiency with which he started. Continued loss of command has got to worry the Astros. Valdez has walked 24 batters in his last 33 1/3 innings. He issued a four-pitch walk to the opposing pitcher within the third. Valdez had eight-hole hitter Thairo Estrada down within the count 1-2 before it. He responded with seven straight balls, sending Estrada and starter Kevin Gausman aboard. Gausman tried to bunt twice during the plate appearance. Valdez didn’t allow it.
The sport doesn’t forgive such fatal flaws. Friday featured no exception. Both Estrada and Gausman scored to tie the sport. Valdez walked Darin Ruf during the frame, too, but froze Wilmer Flores with a full-count curveball to evade damage and keep the Astros within striking distance against Gausman. Gausman is that the Giants ace. He garnered an All-Star selection after a stellar half. Nothing since has looked similar. In his first two starts since the break, Gausman gave up eight earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.
The Astros ground Gausman within an in. of a one-inning stint. He needed 43 pitches to end the primary, and Houston made him throw 23 before making an out. The lineup laid off Gausman’s menacing splitter and seized advantage of his shoddy fastball command. Altuve, Michael Brantley, and Yuli Gurriel greeted him with three straight singles to start the sport. Altuve’s glanced off Brandon Crawford’s glove at shortstop. Brantley got him to 3rd with a well-placed ground ball on a hit-and-run. Gurriel drove him in with a two-strike single through the proper side.
Walks to Carlos Correa and Tucker is forced into another run. Giants manager Gabe Kapler activated his bullpen, but Gausman struck out Díaz and Martín Maldonado to stop him from using it. Gausman somehow guided the Giants through three more innings. Altuve began the fifth with a solo home run on a changeup above his shoulder blades. Gausman didn’t finish the frame. Houston batted around during the sixth, and Altuve annihilated a slam to widen the cause five.
Taylor and Stanek teamed to trim it to 2 . Stanek faced six hitters within the seventh. Four reached. one among the 2 outs he recorded came on Wilmer Flores’ deep sacrifice. Brandon Crawford crushed one to bring the go-ahead run to the plate. Acting Astros manager Joe Espada summoned Graveman. He threw four pitches to Donovan Solano. All registered above 96 mph. Solano slammed the fourth to Correa at shortstop. He finished the putout. Graveman pointed to Maldonado and sauntered from the sector.