Andrew Abbott’s impressive start to his major league career continued as he delivered his third consecutive scoreless outing to help the Cincinnati Reds secure a 2-1 win against the Houston Astros. Abbott’s stellar performance was complemented by Tyler Stephenson’s home run, providing ample support for the Reds’ victory. Abbott’s accomplishment of three consecutive scoreless starts of at least five innings to open a career has not been seen since 1893. Despite Houston’s late attempt at a comeback, Cincinnati’s bullpen held on for the win.
Andrew Abbott (3-0) showcased his pitching prowess by limiting the Astros to four hits over six innings. His remarkable achievement of three straight scoreless starts to begin his MLB career, considering the change in pitching distance since 1893, underscores the historical significance of his accomplishment. Cincinnati manager David Bell praised Abbott’s outstanding performance, particularly against a formidable lineup of right-handed hitters, and emphasized the importance of his contribution to the team’s success.
In the seventh inning, Tyler Stephenson added to the Reds’ lead with his fifth home run of the season, launching a shot off J.P. France (2-2). This crucial hit propelled the Reds to a 1-0 advantage. Later, Kevin Newman’s double allowed Will Benson to score, thanks to a fielding error by Houston left fielder Mauricio Dubón, extending the Reds’ lead to 2-0.
Houston’s attempt to mount a comeback came in the ninth inning when José Abreu doubled and eventually scored on a ground ball by Jeremy Peña. However, Reds reliever Alexis Diaz managed to hold off the Astros, securing his 18th save of the season by retiring pinch-hitter Corey Julks.
Abbott, a 24-year-old left-hander, demonstrated his composure and control on the mound, walking two and striking out two. His ability to trust in his own abilities and throw strikes efficiently contributed to his success. Abbott also etched his name in the franchise record books by pitching 17 2/3 scoreless innings to start his career, surpassing Wayne Simpson’s record of 15 scoreless innings set in 1970.
Houston’s J.P. France delivered a solid performance, surrendering only four hits and two runs over 6 2/3 innings. Manager Dusty Baker expressed disappointment that France suffered the loss despite his excellent outing. The Astros struggled offensively, going 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position. The trio of Dubón, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman, who typically provide offensive firepower, were unable to produce any hits, going a combined 0 for 12.
Although Houston’s offense struggled, their pitching remained strong. Abbott managed to escape several scoring opportunities for the Astros, leaving runners stranded throughout the game. The Reds’ Matt McLain and Kyle Tucker of the Astros provided brief sparks for their respective teams, but Abbott and France stifled further scoring opportunities.
In terms of team news, the Reds’ Stuart Fairchild was scratched from the lineup due to neck stiffness, with Will Benson stepping in as his replacement. Additionally, the Reds reinstated Nick Senzel from the injured list, while Jose Barrero was optioned to Triple-A Louisville. For the Astros, Ryne Stanek returned from the bereavement/family medical emergency list, while Matt Gage was sent down to Triple-A Sugar Land.
Looking ahead, the Reds’ Hunter Greene (1-4, 4.01 ERA) is scheduled to face the Astros’ Brandon Bielak (3-3, 4.01 ERA) in the continuation of the series on Saturday. Both teams will aim to build on their performances and secure the win in the upcoming game.