Behind a big second and third inning and arguably the best outing of Brandon Bielak’s career, the Astros got back to their winning ways, knocking off the Minnesota Twins 5-1.
Bielak went 5.2 innings, approaching a sixth inning for a second consecutive start. It has been massive that he has been able to bring some semblance of length to the Astros rotation. He scattered three hits and three walks across his body of work, allowing only one run.
The Astros got on the board in the home half of the second inning with home runs from Alex Bregman and Chas McCormick.
Bregman’s blast was a true Crawford Box special, with Minute Maid being the only ballpark the ball gets out of. McCormick’s would leave all 30 yards.
It’s been said once before this season, but Bregman does appear to finally be gaining form. His average is up to .240 with a .719 OPS. Over the last two weeks, Bregman has hit .333 with an .868 OPS. In the last week, he’s hit .400 with a 1.000 OPS.
McCormick’s blast, his second in his last two starts, was sorely needed. Chas has struggled since coming off the IL, likely due to some of the irregular playing time he has faced. In the last two weeks, he’s hitting only .115 with a .592 OPS. The big fly was a rare pull-side blast for Chas, so hopefully it’s a catalyst to turn things around.
After Bielak exited, Phil Maton, Ryne Stanek and Rafael Montero teamed for a scoreless relief effort. Maton went 1.1 innings, recording a strikeout for each out he recorded.
Montero’s clean inning was desperately needed. He did allow one hit, but walked none and got out of the inning in only 15 pitches. It was Montero’s second straight scoreless inning, lowering his ERA to 6.65. He still may be a ways away from entering a leverage situation, but there are positive signs to build off of.