Despite owning the major league’s most victories, having four starting pitchers on the disabled list has provided a real test for a Houston Astros team that entered play Saturday night, having lost seven of the last ten games.
Rookie David Paulino provided a boost by offering by far his most impressive big league performance, allowing just three hits and one run over six innings to earn his first win as the Astros defeated Boston 7-1 at Minute Maid Park.
“I feel really blessed,” Paulino said. “I have to thank my teammates because they helped me out to get the win and I am really happy about it.”
Those teammates provided three runs in the first inning off the 2016 American League Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (3-9) for an early advantage for a team that scored just once Friday in a loss.
The Astros posted another three-run frame in the third inning including home runs from Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran.
“We just come at you with whether it is six in a row (quality at bats) like the first inning or three out of four in the inning where we scored in the third, of really good at bats coming at guys and we usually put runs on the board when we do that,” explained Astros manager A.J. Hinch.
Hinch was also impressed with Paulino’s emotions and ability to throw multiple breaking balls for strikes in the win.
Hinch admitted early in the year it may have been hard for the rookie to “feel the love” of being in the mix for a potential roster spot.
“Then you look up and a couple of months into the season we have four guys on the D.L. and he is called on to be good,” he said. “These games like this are steps in the right direction for him to feel pretty good about himself.”
The Astros and Red Sox will play the rubber match of a three-game series Sunday night in a 7:05 p.m. start. Joe Musgrove (4-5 4.81) will start for Houston against Boston’s David Price (1-1 5.09).
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