SEATTLE -- Lefty Framber Valdez turned what could have been a steady stream of relievers out of the Astros' bullpen on Tuesday night into his Major League coming-out party. And a night he'll never forget.Valdez, called up earlier in the day after pitching in only two games at Triple-A Fresno,
SEATTLE -- Lefty Framber Valdez turned what could have been a steady stream of relievers out of the Astros' bullpen on Tuesday night into his Major League coming-out party. And a night he'll never forget.
Valdez, called up earlier in the day after pitching in only two games at Triple-A Fresno, threw 4 1/3 innings in relief, allowing only an unearned run, and picking up his first career win in the Astros' 3-2 victory over the Mariners at Safeco Field.
"I was very inspired on the mound and remembered all the people that were involved in helping me to get to this point -- scouts, coaches and just thinking about them," Valdez said. "This game was really dedicated to all those people who were involved from a baseball standpoint and obviously my family as well."
Valdez kept the game ball and underwent some good-natured hazing by his teammates in the clubhouse after the game -- the nature of which no one would say. It didn't seem to bother Valdez, who gave a speech to his teammates.
"It was incredible," he said. "I felt great. I was so happy to celebrate my first win at the big league level and I was very happy to celebrate with my teammates."
The Astros overcame grounding into a franchise-record -- and American League record-tying -- six double plays by getting a sacrifice fly by Carlos Correa (3-for-3) in the third inning, a solo homer by Josh Reddick in the fourth and an RBI single in the sixth by Yuli Gurriel.
"I don't think it's frustrating at all if we win," Reddick said when asked about the double plays. "I'll take eight of them if we get a win, especially right now. I think it can be frustrating at times, but at the end of the day we got the W and had some big swings. Yuli with the big single to get it through and get that little difference-maker for us."
The Astros won for only the third time in 11 games to remain tied with the A's for first place in the American League West, with the Mariners falling 4 1/2 games back.
Needing a sixth starting pitcher for the first time this season, the Astros turned to reliever Brad Peacock, who threw 1 2/3 innings in his first start since Game 3 of last year's American League Division Series before handing the ball to Valdez. He allowed two hits, walked one, hit three batters and struck out four batters.
"It's hard not be incredibly impressed, first off by the demeanor," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We didn't script it to where he was going to enter with guys on base, but with the way the game played out, it was his time and we kind of threw him into the fire and responded with a big first out and that helped calm him down."
Valdez, who pitched most of this season at Double-A, pounded the strike zone and threw 42 of his 67 pitches for strikes, featuring a devastating curveball he threw 28 times. He touched 95 mph with his fastball.
"He was nervous at the very beginning," Hinch said. "He faced some guys he probably looked up to in [Robinson] Cano and [Jean] Segura. He knows the big leagues is really tough, but he pounded the strike zone with a lot of confidence. He's got a wipeout breaking ball, so he fits right in."
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
The Mariners threatened late in the game, cutting the lead to 3-2 in the eighth against Roberto Osuna. They had runners at first and third base with one out before Osuna came back to strike out Nelson Cruz and Dee Gordon swinging to end the inning. Hinch said before the game Osuna would get most of the closing opportunities, but wound up pitching Osuna in the eighth with Hector Rondon working the ninth for the save. Hinch explained Osuna was warming up in the seventh in case there was more trouble, and once he was ready to pitch, he was going to pitch the eighth inning regardless.
"Sometimes the best laid plans don't map out perfectly, but tonight he wasn't the closer," Hinch said.
Said Osuna: "I'm expecting to win games and be in the postseason and do the best that I can to help the team. No matter the situation, I come in. We are a good team and any of us can cover the ninth inning. I'm here to help."
The Astros are 15-37 when scoring three or fewer runs.
HE SAID IT
"Is it a record? It should be a record. If we're going to hit into that many, it should be a record." -- Hinch, on the double plays
The Astros will send Charlie Morton (12-3, 2.85 ERA) to the mound in Wednesday's 3:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Mariners at Safeco Field. Morton has won only once in his last six starts, but he has a 2.62 ERA in that span with five quality starts. Lefty Marco Gonzales (12-8, 3.91 ERA) will start for Seattle.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.