HOUSTON (AP) — Framber Valdez pitched seven strong innings and Kyle Tucker had two hits as the Houston Astros handed Nick Pivetta his first loss of the season in a 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Valdez (1-0) yielded five hits and one run while striking out 10. He walked two in his second start of the season after missing the first two months after breaking his left index finger in spring training.
Hunter Renfroe singled off Ryan Pressly with one out in the ninth before advancing to second on a two-out single by Christian Vázquez. But Pressly retired Christian Arroyo to get his eighth save.
Pivetta (6-1) allowed three hits and two runs in six innings. He struck out a season-high nine for the second straight game.
Carlos Correa doubled and Yuli Gurriel drove in a run to help the Astros to their fourth consecutive victory.
Valdez, who lasted just four innings in his season debut on Friday, started out a bit shaky on Wednesday before settling down. J.D. Martinez singled with two outs in the first before Xander Bogaerts walked. Rafael Devers singled to load the bases before Valdez walked Renfroe, sending home a run and giving Boston a 1-0 lead.
Valdez got on a roll after that, retiring the next 11 batters before Arroyo singled with one out in the fifth.
Jose Altuve drew a leadoff walk before Correa doubled to left field. There was one out in the inning when Pivetta plunked Yordan Alvarez on the foot. The Astros tied it when Altuve scored on a sacrifice fly by Gurriel. Tucker singled to load the bases, but rookie Robel Garcia struck out to end the inning.
Tucker doubled to start Houston’s fourth and took third on a wild pitch. There was one out in the inning when Tucker scored on a groundout by Myles Straw, making it 2-1.
Arroyo singled with two outs in the seventh, but Valdez ended his night by striking out Kiké Hernández to end the inning.
Astros: OF Michael Brantley (right hamstring soreness) is feeling better and could come off the injured list as soon as Friday. … RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (right shoulder soreness) could throw a simulated game next week, but likely won’t come off the injured list until at least the middle of June.
OUT OF LEFT FIELD
Alvarez, normally Houston’s designated hitter, played left field for the first time since Game 5 of the 2019 World Series and the 11th time in his career on Wednesday night. The Astros needed his help in the outfield with Brantley out, and manager Dusty Baker said Alvarez has been practicing out there daily to prepare for the job.
He didn’t see much action and only had to make one catch on a routine fly ball in the fifth inning.
Houston’s Jake Odorizzi (0-2, 6.75 ERA) opposes Martín Pérez (3-2, 3.55) as the Astros look to complete the series sweep Thursday.