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Hinch reiterates faith in Giles as closer

Astros reliever has struggled during postseason
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Thursday that he hasn't lost faith in closer Ken Giles, who's struggled in the postseason. Giles has allowed at least one run in five of his six playoff outings, including two runs in 1 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 7-6 win in 11 innings over the Dodgers in Game 2 of the Fall Classic.

Giles has thrown 7 2/3 innings in the postseason and given up seven runs and 10 hits, including three home runs, one coming in Game 2 of the World Series. Opposing hitters are hitting .303 against him the playoffs, though he has struck out 10 batters. Giles saved one game in the AL Division Series presented by Doosan and AL Championship Series presented by Camping World.

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HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Thursday that he hasn't lost faith in closer Ken Giles, who's struggled in the postseason. Giles has allowed at least one run in five of his six playoff outings, including two runs in 1 2/3 innings in Wednesday's 7-6 win in 11 innings over the Dodgers in Game 2 of the Fall Classic.

Giles has thrown 7 2/3 innings in the postseason and given up seven runs and 10 hits, including three home runs, one coming in Game 2 of the World Series. Opposing hitters are hitting .303 against him the playoffs, though he has struck out 10 batters. Giles saved one game in the AL Division Series presented by Doosan and AL Championship Series presented by Camping World.

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"I think Ken Giles is going to get another save in this Series," Hinch said. "I think he's going to get some really big outs. I think when the crowd is standing in this ballpark over the next couple of games, if we can have the lead and he's the right matchup, he's going to get the last out. He's done it awfully well this year.

Dress for the World Series: Get Astros postseason gear

"And again, I reiterate to you guys, just because somebody has a bad day at work, does not mean that they need to be condemned and sent away. These guys are good players on a national stage and they are competing against the best team in the National League, and for that I'm going to keep putting him in and trusting him."

Giles saved 34 of 38 games in the regular season and posted a 0.84 ERA at home this year.

Former presidents set for first pitch
Former United States president George W. Bush will join his father and former president George H. W. Bush in throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Sunday's Game 5 of the World Series at Minute Maid Park, the Astros announced on Thursday. George H. W. Bush will call "Play Ball!" prior to first pitch against the Dodgers.

Astros legend Jose Cruz Sr. will deliver the game ball before Game 5.

Prior to tonight's Game 3 of the World Series, Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio will deliver the game ball, accompanied by members of the Boys & Girls Club of America. Several Houston celebrities, including Olympian Simone Biles, astronaut Scott Kelly and Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching will also participate in the pregame ceremony.

Hailey Dawson, a 7-year-old athlete who was born without three fingers on what is now her throwing hand, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Saturday's Game 4. Dawson continues to play sports thanks to a 3D-printed prosthesis. What's more, former Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt will deliver the game ball and Modern Family star and Astros fan Rico Rodriguez will call "Play Ball!"

Devenski appreciates faith shown by Hinch
Chris Devenski became the first Astros pitcher to win a World Series game when he threw the final 1 1/3 innings of Wednesday's win in Game 2, allowing a homer to Charlie Culberson. Devenski threw a scoreless inning in a close game in Game 1, showing the faith Hinch has in him.

"It definitely meant a lot for me," Devenski said. "I'm glad he's had my back throughout the whole year, through my ups and downs. It was very special. And I felt like I built up some momentum and will keep it rolling."

Devenski's second season in the big leagues saw him land on the AL All-Star team, and he finished the season 8-5 with four saves and a 2.68 ERA. In his final 28 outings, though, he walked 13 batters and allowed 12 earned runs and seven homers in 29 innings after walking 13 and allowing four homers in his first 34 appearances, covering 51 2/3 innings.

Video: WS2017 Gm2: Devenski whiffs Puig to even the series

"It's been a lot of ups and downs -- steady, steady work, continually trying to get better and learn as much as I can along the way," Devenski said. "And I'm very thankful for the people I'm surrounded by. I've learned from every single guy on this team and every single person in this clubhouse, coaching staff included. And it's been fun."

Hinch sorry to see Girardi go
The managers of both of the teams the Astros have eliminated from the postseason have lost their jobs, with Yankees skipper Joe Girardi being dismissed on Thursday. The Red Sox announced shortly after losing to the Astros in the ALDS that John Farrell would not return in 2018. Astros bench coach Alex Cora has been named as the next manager for the Red Sox.

After the Astros beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the ALCS on Saturday in Houston to win the AL pennant, Girardi made his way to the Astros' clubhouse to congratulate Hinch following a hard-fought series in which the home team won every game.

"I appreciated Joe coming by the office and sticking his head in and saying hello, and giving me some words of encouragement," Hinch said. "He's been through this much more than I have in terms of being in the World Series -- player, manager, coach, all of the above. He's a real class act.

"And I've also said I've watched a lot of turnover in this work. And obviously it brings a lot of appreciation for having one of these jobs, for keeping one of these jobs, for all the work that goes in. I don't think anybody can relate to what a manager does other than one of the other 29 managers or if you've done it before. It's a shame to see so much turnover because of the work, the blood, sweat, tears poured into these jobs. And I don't think anybody goes through more than what Joe does in New York."

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.

Houston Astros, Ken Giles