Apr 28, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros first baseman Jose Abreu (79) is tagged out at home plate by Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (10) in the fifth inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Astros carved up by Aaron Nola in 3-1 loss to Philadelphia Phillies
The Houston Astros were held in check offensively against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. Houston fell to Philadelphia, 3-1, in game one of the three-game weekend series.
The fireworks started early for both teams in the 2022 World Series rematch. Each team got on the board with a solo home run in the first inning. Kyle Schwarber turned a cutter from Houston starting pitcher Framber Valdez into a home run that put Philadelphia up 1-0.
Houston wasted little time responding. Shortstop Jeremy Peña tied the game by turning a fastball from Philadelphia starter Aaron Nola into a 402-foot rocket that left the park.
Third baseman Alex Bregman nearly gave the Astros the lead with his own home run, but Philadelphia right fielder Nick Castellanos made an impressive catch robbing the would-be homer.
Philadelphia gets lead, Astros cannot match
The Phillies scored a run in the fifth inning on an RBI double from Cristian Pache. He sent a line drive to Kyle Tucker in right field, which allowed Edmundo Sosa to score and give the Phillies a 2-1 edge. Sosa had reached base with his own double.
Valdez made a big play to keep Houston’s deficit at just one run in the fifth inning. He tracked down a ground ball in the dirt that bounced and rolled toward third base.
Valdez scooped it up and made the throw to José Abreu at first base for the final out of the inning. Had the play not been made, Brandon Marsh, who came in for Pache after he suffered an injury, would have scored.
Houston had a chance to match Philadelphia’s fifth-inning run with its own in the bottom of the frame. With Abreu at third base and Corey Julks at first and no outs, Jake Meyers put the ball in play in the infield, but the Phillies were able to tag Abreu out at home and keep the Astros from tying the game.
With Julks at second and Meyers at first, Rylan Bannon flew out for the second out of the inning, and then Martín Maldonaldo struck out for the final out in the fifth, keeping the Astros at a one-run deficit.
The Phillies added an insurance run in the seventh inning on a Marsh ground ball single up the gap toward center field, which allowed Sosa to score and made it a 3-1 deficit for Houston.
Domination by Nola
Despite giving up the first-inning dinger to Peña, Nola was able to shake it off and keep the Astros at bay for the rest of his time on the mound. Nola pitched eight innings, giving up only three hits and striking out six Astros as he notched the win (2-2).
Left-handed reliever José Alvarado was given the reins in the ninth inning, and he struck out Mauricio Dubón and Peña. Kyle Tucker grounded out for the final out of the game. Alvarado earned his fifth save of the season.
For the Astros, Valdez (2-3) pitched a full seven innings. He gave up eight hits, three earned runs, and struck out three batters in the loss. Bryan Abreu and Rafael Montero pitched for the Astros in relief. They gave up no hits, and each struck out two Philadelphia batters.
News and Notes
• Mauricio Dubón’s 20-game hitting streak came to an end against Philadelphia. He went 0-for-4.
• Rylan Bannon made his Astros debut as the designated hitter on Friday. He went 0-for-3.
Chas McCormick, who has not played in a game for the Astros since April 14, will join Double-A Corpus Christi to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday.
It does not appear like Yordan Álvarez will go on the injured list after leaving Tampa earlier in the week with neck issues. He was listed as a reserve on Friday’s lineup card but did not play.
The Astros will play the Phillies in game two of the three-game series at 4:10 p.m. on Saturday. Cristian Javier (2-0, 3.21 ERA) is expected to start for Houston. He will face off against Zack Wheeler (2-1, 4.73 ERA).