Brandon Bielak logged seven shutout innings in his first start in two-plus weeks as the host Houston Astros picked up a 4-1 win on Tuesday in the opener of their two-game interleague series with the Colorado Rockies
Bielak, recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land on Monday, produced his first scoreless start of the season while recording a career-best 21 outs. Bielak (4-4) had twice worked 6 2/3 innings this season, including on June 5 against the Toronto Blue Jays in his previous win.
With the Houston bullpen stretched thin following a tense four-game weekend road series against the Texas Rangers, Bielak provided exactly what the Astros needed. He retired the side in order in the third, sixth and seventh innings and faced the minimum in the second and fifth despite issuing walks to Nolan Jones and Randal Grichuk in those respective frames
Bielak benefitted from catcher Yainer Diaz erasing Jones as he attempted to swipe second base for the second out in the second. After Grichuk walked leading off the fifth, Bielak followed by inducing a double-play grounder from Ezequiel Tovar.
Grichuk was the last batter to reach safely against Bielak, who surrendered two hits and issued four walks while posting four strikeouts.
The Astros stretched their Independence Day winning streak to six games after first breaking through against Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland (4-9) in the bottom of the third. Rookie shortstop Grae Kessinger smacked his first career home run with one out in the frame, a 397-foot solo shot to left-center field that spotted Houston a 1-0 lead
Freeland allowed three successive one-out hits in the fifth, starting with a Mauricio Dubon RBI triple that plated Jake Meyers, who opened that inning with a single. Corey Julks, who notched his first career four-hit game, followed with a run-scoring single that scored Dubon and extended the Houston lead to 3-0.
Chas McCormick added an RBI single off Rockies reliever Gavin Hollowell that scored Alex Bregman in the seventh. Freeland allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings and is winless over his last nine starts
Kris Bryant hit a solo home run in the ninth for the Rockies, who suffered their ninth consecutive road loss
Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was scratched from the lineup with left oblique discomfort
–Field Level Media
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