HOUSTON -- On the same day they lost a starting pitcher to suspension for 80 games, and with three other members of the rotation on the disabled list, the Astros were due for some positive pitching news.Francis Martes, in what manager A.J. Hinch called his finest start as a Major
HOUSTON -- On the same day they lost a starting pitcher to suspension for 80 games, and with three other members of the rotation on the disabled list, the Astros were due for some positive pitching news.
Francis Martes, in what manager A.J. Hinch called his finest start as a Major Leaguer, provided just that.
Reeling after a turbulent two-inning start on June 25, the right-handed fireballing rookie allowed just two runs and tossed 89 pitches in a stellar outing that nearly silenced the powerful Yankees through five-plus innings.
The Astros didn't allow a run in the first five innings of their 7-6 win over the Yankees on Saturday, largely because of Martes' strong showing.
"I thought he was very good," said Hinch. "His demeanor, his entrance in the game where he was under control. He flashed that stuff that we love. The breaking ball today had a little extra on it. He flashed some changeups. He started getting into the upper 90s late in this game.
"When I went out to talk to him, I told him, 'That's the best I've seen you throw.' I'm proud of him for coming back after a start where he took it on the chin, in an environment like this against a team like the Yankees -- that's a big performance."
Martes credited consistency while using his fastball and curveball against the Yankees. He threw 58 strikes, struck out seven, allowed four hits and walked one.
Yet he says he can perform even better.
"I feel like that was my best game," Martes said, "but I feel like I have better things to come."
Christian Boutwell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.