It was a classic pitcher’s duel as Astros starter Vince Velasquez and Nathan Eovaldi of the Yankees gave up two runs each in six plus innings of work. The difference in tonight’s game was one run given up by the Houston Bullpen. Astros manager A.J. Hinch spoke after the game about the difference in winning that type of game versus being on the losing end, “It was a well fought game on both sides and I think both teams had to battle a little bit. They had the big hit when they needed it.”
The Astros got on the board early against Eovaldi as Carlos Correa singled home Hank Conger in the third inning to give Houston a 1-0 lead. That would be all of the offense in the gun until the bottom half ofthe sixth when Houston DH Evan Gattis Singled home Jose Altuve on a pop-up into shallow center-field.
The Yankees cracked the scoreboard for the first time in series when Houston native Chris Young hit a three-run shot (his ninth of the year) off of Houston reliever Will Harris in the seventh. The homer gave New York their first runs of the series as well as their first lead at 3-2. Young extended his season long nine-game hitting streak on Friday night tying his career-long streak (June 9-18, 2010). The former Bellaire Cardinal is hitting .337 in his career against the Astros which is third among active hitters (min. 200 abs.).
Velasquez pitched 6.1 innings and gave up two runs on five hits and struck out two. Hinch said this was the best Velasquez has looked at the Major League level, “I told him that when I took him out, I said it’s the best I’ve ever seen him. I think he’d done everything he could to get through that. The two base hits to lead-off the inning were one of the reasons I ended his night. He pitched just above the barrel, got a lot of fly balls. I thought he pounded the zone, and got some early outs. Just a really good start to build on for him. That’s his best outing, his best stuff in his young Major League Career.”
Eovaldi pitched six strong innings for the Bronx Bombers giving up two runs on five his and striking out six Astros hitters before giving way to the bullpen in the seventh. “Eovaldi has a really good arm. He’s got pretty good stuff you have to be aware of. When a guy’s got 98 in his hip pocket and you’re in-between the breaking ball and the fastball it can be a difficult task.”
The two teams will continue the series with a 3:10 start on Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park. Starting for the Astros will be Brett Oberholtzer(2-l, 2.81 ERA). He will be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka ( 4-3, 3.71 ERA) for the Yankees.
WP: Eovaldi (7-2)
LP: Harris (4-1)
SAVE: Dellin Betances (5)
The Houston Astros also announced thu signing of their third-round pick from the 2015 MLB Draft, Riley Ferrell, a relief pitcher from TCU. In this time in Ft. Worth, Ferrell recorded 32 saves (school record). In a press conference held at Minute Maid Park on Friday, Ferrell spoke to the media,” With only 29, 30 innings or so, I’m still fresh, I’m ready to go.” In his junior year at TCU he pitched 31 2/3 innings and only gave up ten hits while striking out 53 for the Frogs. Ferrell will be assigned to Quad-Cities, single-A, and will depart on Saturday.