Photo Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
PREVIEW: Astros look to get rolling after comeback win against Braves
The Houston Astros will ride into Saturday night’s second game of a three-game road series with the Atlanta Braves off a dramatic comeback win in the opener.
Houston kicked off the series with a 6-4 victory Friday. Atlanta scored four first-inning runs, then was held scoreless for eight as the Astros chipped away at the lead.
Yordan Alvarez completed the comeback with a full-count, two-out, two-run home run in the ninth to cap the Astros’ 6-4 win. Alvarez’s home run was his fifth of the season and extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base to 22, dating to last season.
Meanwhile, Mauricio Dubón, who was on base when Alvarez hit his game-winning blast, is on a major league-best 15-game hitting streak following his 3-for-5 effort on Friday.
Dubon told The Athletic after Friday’s game that amid the streak, he has not indulged in any superstitions, “like wearing the same boxers every day or anything.”
Lucky charms or no, Houston improved to .500 for the season and on Saturday could win three straight for the first time in 2023.
“Hopefully, we can get rolling,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said in his postgame news conference. “We’ve got some work to do on this road trip.”
Another defeat of the Braves on Saturday also would secure the Astros their second straight series win, and third in the last four, after they dropped two straight series to the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins.
Houston’s Opening Day starter, Framber Valdez (1-2, 1.80 ERA), will be on the mound Saturday in his first appearance opposite Atlanta since the 2021 World Series.
The left-hander has struck out 25 in 25 innings of work in 2023, including seven in his most recent start. Valdez allowed just one earned run in that outing last Sunday against Texas but took the loss in a 9-1 final.
Right-hander Kyle Wright (0-0, 6.23) is set to start for Atlanta on Saturday. The 2022 MLB wins leader with 21, Wright lasted just three innings in his first appearance of 2023, a 7-6 Braves win over Cincinnati on April 11.
He came back with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings in Atlanta’s 5-4 win at Kansas City on Sunday but didn’t figure in the decision.
Wright scored the win in his only career start against Houston, going six innings with six hits allowed, two earned runs, and seven strikeouts against the Astros last August.
The Braves will look to avoid a three-game losing skid after winning the previous eight games. Friday’s defeat was a byproduct of struggles from the bullpen that have been uncharacteristic this season.
Jesse Chavez surrendered three earned runs in the seventh inning, while A.J. Minter gave up the two runs in the ninth to take the loss.
“We’ve [played] three weeks without anything like that happening. That’s pretty good,” Braves manager Brian Snitker told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “These guys are all throwing great. You’re against a really good team. It’s baseball. It wasn’t going to not happen.”
The six runs Atlanta allowed on Friday were the most since a 7-6 win over Cincinnati on April 11. The Braves fell to 13-2 for the season when scoring four-plus runs.
–Field Level Media