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Astros eviscerate Zach Plesac to send Guardians to 7-3 loss

At least José Ramírez homered after a 12-pitch at-bat

MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

In the first inning of Tuesday night’s 7-3 loss to the Houston Astros, José Ramírez put together one of the greatest at-bats I’ve ever seen. With two outs, Ramírez fouled off nine pitches in a 12-pitch at-bat, culminating in a solo home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field.

Here is everything Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez threw at Ramírez:

Baseball Savant

Unfortunately, that would be the highlight of the game for the Cleveland Guardians.

Valdez was a tough assignment for Cleveland’s lineup. The left-handed groundball pitcher had only allowed more than one run in three of his eight starts entering Tuesday night. Against the Guardians, he surrendered seven hits and three earned runs over seven innings of work, striking out four. After that first inning home run, Valdez didn’t allow another run until the sixth inning, when Myles Straw crossed home plate after a pair of groundouts followed his leadoff ground rule double.

In the seventh inning, Oscar Mercado and Ernie Clement delivered back-to-back one-out singles and Valdez nearly got out of it unscathed, getting Austin Hedges to ground a double play ball to Alex Bregman at third base. But Jose Altuve’s throw to first was high on the back end of the double play, allowing Hedges to reach base and Mercado to score.

Zach Plesac had a miserable night on the mound for the Guardians. After facing the minimum through the first two innings, cracks started to show in the third inning, starting with Martin Maldonado reaching base on a hit-by-pitch with two outs. Altuve followed with a single and then Plesac walked Michael Brantley to load the bases. Bregman turned on a first-pitch slider and doubled down the third base line to plate a pair, giving Houston a 2-1 lead.

After allowing the Astros to tack on an insurance run in the fourth inning thanks to another two-out RBI double, Plesac unraveled completely in the fifth inning. Altuve and Brantley reached on back-to-back singles before Plesac struck out Bregman. But Yordan Alvarez delivered an RBI single to extend the Astros lead to 4-1. After striking out Yuli Gurriel, Plesac had Kyle Tucker down 0-2 before hanging a curveball that Tucker promptly delivered to the bullpen in right-center field for a three-run homer. Plesac’s final line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 1 BB, and 5 K.

Houston was hitless after Plesac’s exit, with Enyel De Los Santos, Anthony Gose, and Eli Morgan combining to hold the Astros scoreless over the final 3.1 innings.