Astros bats fall silent in 2-0 loss to Giants

May 2, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros catcher Yainer Diaz (21) and starting pitcher Hunter Brown (58) walk to the dugout after retiring the side against the San Francisco Giants during the third inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Astros bats fall silent in 2-0 loss to Giants

Anthony DeSclafani limited the Astros to three hits over eight shutout innings as the Giants beat the Astros 2-0 on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. Thairo Estrada reached base four times for the Giants, who took advantage of an infield single to score a run in the first and three Hunter Brown walks to add to their lead in the fourth.

Hunter Brown battles his control

Brown entered the game with an 8.3% walk rate through his first five starts of the season, a lower number than he posted in his brief rehearsal with the Astros last season or in any of his minor league campaigns, but on Tuesday, what some saw as his Achilles heel crept on him.

The Giants of an infield single and a stolen base to score a run in the first inning, but through the game’s first three frames, they managed just that run on two hits against the Astros righty, but Brown walked Joc Pederson and Michael Conforto with one-out in the fourth, and Blake Sabol added to the Giants lead when he doubled home Pederson. Brown followed that up by walking Joey Bart but worked out of the jam by getting Brett Wisely to ground out.

Dusty Baker allowed Brown to go back out for the fifth inning but walked Cal Stevenson and Thairo Estrada in between a Lamonte Wade Jr flyout to end his night. After not handing out a free pass to the first 11 men he faced, Brown walked five of the final nine batters he faced. He threw 21-of-32 fastballs for a strike, but only 31-of-63 sliders and curveballs were thrown for a strike.

The bullpen quartet of Matt Gage, Ryne Stanek, Hector Neris, and Ronel Blanco kept the Giants off the board the rest of the night.

Astros can’t solve Anthony DeSclafani

DeSclafani entered Tuesday’s game with a 2.70 ERA through five starts in 2023, and that number went down against the Astros. He retired the first seven men he faced before allowing a first-pitch double to Yainer Diaz in the third. He retired Jake Meyers and Mauricio Dubón to keep the Astros off the board and got the next 10 men he faced before Yordan Alvarez doubled with one out in the seventh, but he wiggled out of trouble by inducing flyouts from Jose Abreu and Kyle Tucker.

With the Giants bullpen still feeling the effects from their two-game series in Mexico City over the weekend, Gabe Kapler sent DeSclafani back out for the eighth. Jeremy Peña grounded and Corey Julks flied out to start it, but Diaz reached on an infield single and advanced to second on an error, but Meyers grounded out to end the inning.

DeSclafani threw 70-of-109 pitches for a strike, and his eight shutout innings lowered his ERA to 2.13 in what was his longest start since July 4, 2021.

Camilo Doval relieved DeSclafani in the ninth and set the Astros down in order to record his fourth save of the season.

Yainer Diaz a lone bright spot

The 24-year-old’s playing time has been sparing this season, mainly limited to when Brown starts, but he made the most of his opportunity on Tuesday, both at and behind the plate. He collected two of the Astros’ three hits on the night, including a 100.4 MPH double on a first-pitch fastball in the third inning, and defensively he threw out two potential base stealers, Thairo Estrada in the fourth inning and pinch runner Austin Slater in the eighth.

News and Notes:

•Nine walks for Astros pitching is a season-high.

•Yordan Alvarez has reached base in 24 games this season after finishing 1-for-4 on Tuesday.

Injury updates:

•The Astros placed RHP Luis Garcia on the 15-day IL after he left Monday’s game in the first inning. LHP Matt Gage was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land.

•RHP José Urquidy, who was placed on the IL Monday after leaving Sunday’s start in the sixth inning, said an MRI showed inflammation in the area around his right armpit. He’ll be shut down from throwing for the next 10 days.

•José Altuve took ground balls for the first time since fracturing his right thumb in the WBC, but there is no timetable for when he’ll be able to throw or swing the bat. Wednesday will mark six weeks since Altuve underwent surgery.

Up Next

The Astros and Giants will play the middle of their three-game series on Tuesday night with Hunter Brown (3-0) starting opposite Anthony DeSclafani (2-1).

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