Houston Astros starting pitcher Ronel Blanco celebrates after throwing a no hitter in a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Monday, April 1, 2024, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox) (Kevin M. Cox, Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – After starting the year 0-4, the Houston Astros notched their first win Monday night in dominant fashion, beating Toronto 10-0. With two more games lined up against the Blue Jays, the Astros are looking to correct course ahead of a trip to Arlington. Can they do it?

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The defense was in the spotlight last night, as third-year pitcher Ronel Blanco threw the first no-hitter in MLB this season. Through nine innings, he threw just 105 pitches with two walks and seven strikeouts. Everything he threw seemed to be working, and his changeup seemed to cause Toronto’s lineup particular trouble.

Blanco’s numbers jumped off the page, but the entire defense deserves props for that performance. Jose Abreu made the play of the night in the ninth inning, when he dove in the dirt to secure a hot ground ball and threw out the runner at first while sitting down.

The offense made strides last night too, finally putting together a consistent nine innings. Kyle Tucker and Yainer Diaz led the way, as they each had two home runs. Jeremy Pena also smacked one into the stands for the first time since July of last year. In the Yankees series, the Astros did not score a single run in the last three innings across the four games. Last night, they used a 3-run seventh to make a Toronto rally all the more improbable.

The Astros are hoping to carry last night’s magic into tonight’s rematch. Framber Valdez is expected to make his second start of the 2024 campaign on the bump. He was Houston’s starter on opening day against the Yankees, where he had five strikeouts allowed five hits and six walks in 4.2 innings. It wasn’t his best outing by any stretch, but he will have the chance to get back on track against a notably less daunting lineup.

The Blue Jays will start Jose Berrios who also took the mound for his team on opening day. His first start was statistically comparable to Framber’s, but with a much more favorable outcome. The bats woke up in the final half of the game, and he earned the win in the 8-2 victory. He lasted for 6.0 innings, allowing six hits, a home run and a walk with six strikeouts.

Will the Astros be able to keep their foot on the gas in their second matchup with the Blue Jays? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Michael is a Kingwood native who loves shooting hoops, visiting local breweries and overreacting to Houston sports. He joined the KPRC family in the spring of 2024. He earned his B.A. from Texas A&M University in 2022 and his M.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2023.

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