Houston, TX —The Cleveland Guardians had to find a way to slow down Houston’s high power offense, and they found that by way of the youngster Triston McKenzie (3-3).
McKenzie gave up three hits and pitched a season-high seven innings for his second straight start. The only run he allowed came on a solo homer by Alex Bregman to start the seventh.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona raved about the pitcher’s great outing.
“Their lineup is potent and they’re dangerous and he really pitched well,” Francona said. “He really did. He was aggressive with his fastball, good off-speed, basically really pitched.”
Third baseman José Ramírez homered with four RBI and McKenzie pitched seven stellar innings to help the Guardians defeat the Astros 6-1 Monday night. It was the 10th homer this season for Ramírez.
It was the fourth consecutive quality start for the 24-year-old who has a 2.07 ERA with 20 strikeouts in that span.
“We just stuck with the plan,” McKenzie said. “I really just trusted myself and trusted catcher Luke Maile back there and just executed my pitches. Using the fastball early and then kind of just mixing in some curveballs later and just trying to keep them off balance.”
Ramírez had a good day at the park with two hits, highlighted by a two-run blast in the fifth inning that put the Guardians up 4-0.
Houston starter Luis Garcia (3-3) allowed five hits and four runs, two of which were earned, but the other two came because of his throwing error in the third inning.
The Astros couldn’t get much going offensively aside from Bregman’s homer. They had just four hits and went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.
“Sometimes you get beat and get outplayed,” Bregman said. “They played really well tonight.”
Tuesday night, the Astros went back to the basics and just relaxed and played their brand of baseball.
Starting pitcher Framber Valdez pitched seven solid innings and Kyle Tucker gave the Stros a big boost with a three-run homer to tame the Houston Astros to a tune of a 7-3 victory over the Guardians.
Valdez (4-2) gave up seven hits and three runs in seven innings, got his third straight win and allowed the Astros to bounce back after dropping the opener 6-1.
Ramírez gave the Guardians an early lead when he hit a home run over the left field fence for the second straight game in the first inning. It was 11th homer of the season. Houston reclaimed the lead when Alex Bregman hit a two-run double in the third before Kyle Tucker broke the game open with his homer off Zach Plesac (1-4) that made it 7-1 in the fifth inning.
The Astros bombed Plesac for a season-high nine hits, and the seven runs tied his most of the year. He had 5K’s and walked one in 4 2/3 innings to remain winless since April 21.
With two outs in the first, Ramírez sent the 12th pitch of the at-bat into the seats in left field for his 11th homer. It was just the second home run Valdez has allowed this season.
“That was incredible,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “That was as good of an at-bat as you’re ever going to see.”
Myles Straw hit a ground-rule double to start the sixth and scored on a groundout by Ramírez with one out to get the Guardians within 7-2.
Cleveland scored a run in the seventh inning when Oscar Mercado scored after Austin Hedges grounded into a force out.
“If he throws like that every time out, he’ll win a lot of ball games,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.
STRAW IS BACK:
Straw, who spent 3½ seasons in Houston before being traded to Cleveland last July, was honored with a video tribute before the contest. Manager Dusty Baker talked about Straw’s contributions to the team and many Astros visited with the outfielder Monday during batting practice.
MOMENT OF SILENCE:
The teams observed a moment of silence and reflection for the victims of Tuesday’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, before the game. At least 19 children and two adults were killed in the attack about 85 miles from San Antonio.
Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill (1-2, 3.48 ERA) will start against Cristian Javier (2-2, 2.87) when the series concludes Wednesday night.