Ronel Blanco strikes out 8 in 6 innings as Astros beat Giants 3-1

Houston Astros pitcher Ronel Blanco works against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Tuesday, June 11, 2024. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

By ERIC HE Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Ronel Blanco had eight strikeouts in six innings, Mauricio Dubon scored twice and the Houston Astros beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night.

Blanco (6-2) allowed one run on three hits and became the first pitcher in Astros history to go undefeated in his first nine career road starts, improving to 6-0 away from home. His eight strikeouts tied a season high.

The right-hander said his fastball, slider and changeup were all working — but he went to his fastball more often than his off-speed pitches and caught some of the Giants batters off guard.

“We needed a good outing from Blanco, and he gave us that,” Astros manager Joe Espada said.

Houston took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when two runs scored on an RBI infield single by Alex Bregman. With two outs and runners on second and third, Gold Glove third baseman Matt Chapman grabbed Bregman’s softly hit ball with a bare hand but threw wide of first for an error, allowing both runners to score.

Espada credited his team for putting the ball in play in RBI situations, with all its runs scoring on balls that didn’t leave the infield.

“Anything can happen when you put the ball in play, and we did that there with two outs,” Espada said. “You don’t see Chapman throwing many balls away, but we were fortunate enough that he threw one away.”

Ryan Pressly earned his second save of the season, striking out two in the ninth. Houston held the Giants to three hits, their season low.

The Astros, who won their fourth game this season when scoring three or fewer runs, can pick up their third consecutive series win with a victory on Wednesday.

Houston responded after blowing a 3-1 lead in the 10th inning on Monday to the Giants.

“It’s easy just to let that loss from last night just linger and drag you to game two, but this group just bounces back,” Espada said.

Both teams scored a run in the third. Dubon came home on Jose Altuve’s groundout after hitting a leadoff double, and Brett Wisely homered for the Giants. Dubon, who played for San Francisco from 2019-22, went 2 for 3 with two doubles.

“I think the quality of the at-bats have been good with runners in scoring position,” Bregman said. “Obviously, early in the year we weren’t as good, but we’re starting to play a lot better offensively — how we normally do.”

San Francisco starter Jordan Hicks (4-3) allowed three runs in 4 2/3 innings. Giants manager Bob Melvin said Hicks has been sick for the past few days and pitched well considering the circumstances.

“I think based on what he was dealing with today, the line doesn’t look great (but) I thought he pitched pretty well,” Melvin said.


Astros: C Yainer Diaz is still dealing with a sore right index finger after getting hit by a foul ball Sunday. Houston recalled César Salazar from Triple-A Sugar Land for catching depth while Victor Caratini continues to start. OF Joey Loperfido was optioned to Triple-A in a corresponding move. … OF Kyle Tucker, on the injured list with a bruised right shin, is improving and was doing exercises in the weight room before the game.

Giants: Chapman returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore hamstring. … RHP Alex Cobb (shoulder) felt “great” after throwing a bullpen of 20-25 pitches, Melvin. … LHP Blake Snell (left groin strain) will throw off a mound Wednesday. … SS Marco Luciano (right hamstring strain) is close to beginning a rehab assignment.


RHP Logan Webb (5-5, 2.92 ERA) pitches for the Giants against LHP Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.53) in the series finale Wednesday.


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