Apr 29, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado (15) prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros struggled to generate offense while the Philadelphia Phillies broke through in the fourth and sixth innings to win, 6-1, on Saturday.
With the loss, Houston (14-13) has lost two in a row. Philadelphia (15-13) has now won four straight games.
Javier gets roughed up by Phillies
Starting pitcher Cristian Javier pitched only 5.2 innings in Saturday’s loss. Philadelphia touched up the right-handed pitcher in the fourth inning when Nick Castellanos crushed a slider above the Crawford Boxes for a solo home run.
Brandon Marsh followed up the blast with a double, and he moved to third base on a wild pitch by Javier. J.T. Realmuto was able to plate Marsh with a sacrifice fly, which made it 2-0 in favor of the Phillies.
Philadelphia delivered the knockout punch to Javier in the sixth inning. Realmuto got things started with a double to left field. After getting Alec Bohm to pop out for the second out of the inning, the Astros turned to right-handed reliever Phil Maton to get the final out of the inning.
However, Kody Clemens turned Maton’s four-seam fastball into a rocket home run that bounced off the second deck in right field and gave the Phillies a 4-0 lead.
Javier exited the game allowing three earned runs, seven hits, and striking out six. Maton was able to notch four outs for the Astros. He allowed one earned run and struck out three. Right-handed pitcher Seth Martinez pitched in the eighth inning and gave up two more runs to make it 6-0.
Astros offense subdued
Houston’s hitters struggled to make Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler uncomfortable. The right right-handed pitcher gave up just three hits in six innings as he notched the victory for Philadelphia. He also struck out seven Astros.
Corey Julks got in scoring position against Wheeler by hitting a single and stealing second base in the second inning. Yordan Álvarez, who returned to the lineup after dealing with neck discomfort, later also reached second base on a double against the Philadelphia starter. Neither managed to score.
Houston shortstop Jeremy Peña kept the Astros from getting shut out. He hit a solo home run in the eighth inning off left-handed reliever Andrew Vasquez.
News and Notes
• Astros manager Dusty Baker said Michael Brantley will get some reps at first base with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, according to MLB.com.
• Álvarez returned to the lineup after missing four games. He went 2-of-3 with a walk in his at-bats.
The Astros will look to avoid getting swept by the Phillies in the series finale at 6 p.m. on Sunday Night Baseball. José Urquidy (1-2, 5.64 ERA) is expected to start for Houston. He will face off against Bailey Falter (0-4, 4.50 ERA).