• Brian L. Barefield

Bad Night in San Diego

Photo Credit/Bernie Wilson

When Astros manager Dusty Baker said after Friday’s one-run loss to the San Diego Padres that broke their eight-game winning streak, “We need to go out tomorrow and start another streak.” I don’t think this is what he was talking about. San Diego (17-12) used an explosive second inning to take game two of the series from the Astros (15-12) defeating them 13-2.

“They just beat us up tonight. They really beat us up,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker after the game. “It was just a bad night here in San Diego.”

Astros rookie pitcher Brandon Bielak (3-1) had his worst outing of the season as he surrendered three homeruns to the first six Padres batters. He had only given up two on the season, both being solo shots. Bielak was removed from the game when he hit Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. after giving up his fourth homer to center fielder Trent Grisham, his second in consecutive innings. The umpires gathered and warned both benches to avoid any further retaliation by either team. Bielak was taken out of the game afterwards by Baker.

The last time an Astros pitcher gave up four homeruns in a game was Aaron Sanchez against the Oakland A’s in August 2019. San Diego ended the game with six homeruns which tied the Padres home record set Aug. 9 against Arizona.

“I was falling behind hitters too often tonight,” said Bielak who lost his first Major League game of his career. “They were hitting the pitches they were supposed to be hitting and I tip my cap to them.”

San Diego made history during that monstrous second inning by hitting their fifth grand slam in a six-game span. Second baseman Jake Cronenworth took Astros reliever Humberto Castellanos pitch deep over the right field to clear the bases and put the game out of reach.

After taking an 11-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, the Padres struck again when Grisham hit another homerun off of reliever Joe Biagini. He finished the night with three homeruns and six RBI. That was the ninth multi-hit game of the season for the Texas native.

“They have a fine young combination of speed and power over there," Baker said of the Padres lineup. "They have quite a few guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark. We were a little surprised by the power that Grisham had. He had a career night with those three homers. They weren't missing balls. If it was a mistake, they were hitting it."

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

The only bright spot for the Astros was second baseman Jose Altuve who has broken out of his early season slump. In the last four games he has had nine hits in 18 at-bats. On Saturday he was 3-for-4 at the plate. He is batting over .200 for the first time since July 28, 2020.

“I have been working a lot,” said Altuve who had his fourth multi-hit game. “I got good pitches to hit tonight and that was the key.

His manager echoed those sentiments when talking about the three-time batting champion.

“Increased concentration and staying off of bad pitches,” Baker said of Altuve’s resurgence at the plate. “When they [hits] come for Altuve, they come in bunches.”

Rookie Taylor Jones hit his first Major League homerun in the top of the fifth inning.

Houston will play its final game in San Diego on Sunday before heading back to Houston to open their homestand against the Los Angeles Angels.

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