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SF Giants: Series opener dropped against the Houston Astros

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 30: Manager Gabe Kapler #19 of the SF Giants takes the ball from starting pitcher Kevin Gausman #34 during their game against the Houston Astros in the top of the fifth inning at Oracle Park on July 30, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JULY 30: Manager Gabe Kapler #19 of the SF Giants takes the ball from starting pitcher Kevin Gausman #34 during their game against the Houston Astros in the top of the fifth inning at Oracle Park on July 30, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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SF Giants
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 30: Buster Posey #28 of the San Francisco Giants swings and watches the flight of his ball as he hits an RBI double scoring pitcher Kevin Gausman #34 against the Houston Astros in the bottom of the third inning at Oracle Park on July 30, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Friday’s game got off on the wrong foot as SF Giants ace Kevin Gausman labored through the first inning, yielding two runs to a tough Houston Astros offense. The Astros never looked back as the Giants dropped the first game of the series in a 9-6 defeat.

SF Giants: Series opener dropped against the Houston Astros

It was not Gausman’s night but he managed to complete 4.1 innings before giving way to the bullpen. At one point in the first inning, it seemed like the right-handed hurler was one batter away from being replaced. That said, he managed to give the Giants a little more length than they were expecting.

Gausman’s final line included three earned runs with nine strikeouts, so he could take some positives into his next start. The bullpen had an unusual off night, allowing six runs (five earned runs) across the final 4.2 frames of the game.

José Álvarez was the only Giants reliever to not allow a run in Friday night’s contest. The other positive on the mound was that Aaron Sanchez made his first appearance in nearly three months. Sanchez sustained a biceps injury in May and then battled through a blister in his first rehab stint.

The 29-year-old has worked primarily as a starter in his seven-year career, but a move to the bullpen seems to make sense given his injury history. There has been no indication that the Giants plan to use the righty exclusively as a reliever yet.

The Giants offense did its part, scratching six runs across home plate. Buster Posey, Mike Yastrzemski, Donovan Solano, and Brandon Crawford all had multi-hit games. The Giants expect Posey and Crawford to produce at the plate, but Yastrzemski is in the midst of a brutal slump.

The left-handed bat has recorded just eight hits and 17 strikeouts in his last 53 plate appearances. Hopefully, his two-hit night is a step in the right direction.

Austin Slater added an RBI single in the third inning that drove in Thairo Estrada, who reached base via a walk. Slater appears to be breaking out of a brutal slump he endured in June, whereas Estrada finds ways to contribute in the batter’s box.

Related Story. SF Giants: Tony Watson returns in trade with Angels

Of course, the big news on Friday was the Kris Bryant acquisition. Giants fans are eager to see him don the Orange and Black, but he will not be activated until Sunday’s game. By then, the Giants will, hopefully, be looking to take the series against a tough Astros team.

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