Seventh Heaven: Brown terrific, Astros use big inning to blast Rangers 8-2

Apr 15, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Hunter Brown delivers a pitch during the third inning against the Texas Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Seventh Heaven: Brown terrific, Astros use big inning to blast Rangers 8-2

The Houston Astros got a terrific start from Hunter Brown and exploded for five runs in the seventh inning to crush the Texas Rangers 8-2 at Minute Maid Park.

With the victory, the Astros have evened the series up at one game apiece. Houston will look to take the series tomorrow night in the finale as they try for their second straight series win and second overall on the season.

Hunter Brown was strong again

For the second straight start, Brown took the ball into the seventh inning. Both runs he surrendered were unearned after Mauricio Dubón threw a ball away, and Jeremy Peña had a ball bounce off his glove on successive at-bats to start the top of the third. Brown was able to make big pitches when he needed them to get strikeouts in key spots. He also got stronger as the game progressed, retiring nine of 10 batters from the fourth inning to the sixth. He got a 4-6-3 double play to erase a baserunner in the seventh and ultimately retired the side in order. He threw 99 pitches, 66 for strikes, lowering his ERA to 1.93.

Bruce Bochy made the ill-advised decision of pitching to Yordan Alvarez in a big spot

Yordan, of course, delivered a game-tying two-run double off the top of the inside edge of the Crawford Boxes. Yordan continues to be as clutch as anyone in baseball with men on base in key situations. Alvarez later came up in the seventh with the bases loaded, and after pitching him very carefully, Rangers pitcher Ian Kennedy eventually walked him to force in a run. With three total RBIs in the game, Alvarez now has an MLB-leading 20 RBIs.

Astros beat up on the Rangers pen

With one out, Jake Meyers singled to right. Mauricio Dubón followed with his second hit of the game, and then Alex Bregman walked, which loaded the bases for Yordan Alvarez. Rangers pitcher Ian Kennedy tried to pitch very carefully to Alvarez but wound up walking him to force in a run. Jose Abreu hit a hard chop to short that took a wicked hop and bounced too high for Rangers shortstop Josh Smith to field. The ball bounced off his glove scoring two runs. Josh Sborz then relieved Kennedy and walked Kyle Tucker to reload the bases. Jeremy Peña drilled a two-run double down the left field line, and the Astros turned 3-2 into 8-2 as they blew the game open. Beating up on the underbelly of their opponent’s bullpen will be a common theme for Houston this season.

News and Notes:

• It was Jackie Robinson Day across MLB, as all players on all teams wore 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, celebrating the anniversary of Jackie breaking the color line in baseball on April 15, 1947.

• Mauricio Dubón continued his torrid start, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. It was the fifth time he had multiple hits in the last seven games.

• Every Astros starter except Jose Abreu had a hit in the game. Abreu got credit for an RBI in the seventh on his chopper, which was ruled a fielder’s choice and error on shortstop Josh Smith.

• Fans received a replica Framber Valdez jersey at the game today. Valdez is on record that his favorite Astros jersey is the dark blue “Tequila Sunrise” jersey, which is the replica jersey that was distributed.

Up Next:

The Astros and Rangers wrap up their first series of the season on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN.

Houston (7-8) will send their ace, Framber Valdez (1-1, 1.89 ERA), to the mound opposite the Rangers’ Andrew Heaney (1-1, 8.22 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.

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