Framber Valdez struck out 10 in his second start and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to four games with a 2-1 victory over the visiting Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
Valdez logged seven innings, and it marked the seventh consecutive game that an Astros starter allowed just one run. Houston starters have compiled a 1.45 ERA during that stretch.
Astros closer Ryan Pressly notched his eighth save despite allowing two hits in the ninth inning. Boston will attempt to avoid a four-game series sweep in the finale Thursday.
Valdez tossed 102 pitches, an elevated number considering he missed the first 49 games with a left index finger fracture sustained in spring training. He tossed 72 pitches over four innings in his season debut against the San Diego Padres on May 28.
Valdez struggled to complete the first inning after recording two quick outs. He allowed four consecutive batters to reach base, alternating singles and walks, with Boston right fielder Hunter Renfroe forcing home J.D Martinez with his bases-loaded free pass for a 1-0 advantage. Valdez limited the damage by getting Bobby Dalbec to ground out, capping his 31-pitch frame.
That initiated a stretch of 11 consecutive batters retired by Valdez, a streak broken when Christian Arroyo singled with one out in the fifth. Valdez allowed two more hits, one each in the sixth and seventh, but stranded Arroyo in his final inning by punching out Enrique Hernandez.
Valdez (1-0) allowed one run on five hits and two walks, and generated 18 swings and misses — half on his curveball. He also recorded 10 called strikes on 59 sinkers.
Boston right-hander Nick Pivetta (6-1) also labored in the first, requiring 36 pitches to complete the frame.
Jose Altuve walked and scored on a Yuli Gurriel sacrifice fly, but Pivetta rallied to strike out Robel Garcia to leave the bases loaded. He surrendered the lead in the fourth when Kyle Tucker doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a swinging bunt by Myles Straw.
Pivetta allowed two runs on three hits and two walks and matched his season high of nine strikeouts, accomplished in his previous start against the Atlanta Braves on May 26.
–Field Level Media