HOUSTON — Well. The Houston Astros are as good as advertised.
Their deep lineup hammered Andrew Suarez and a series of Giants relievers, and Gerrit Cole had little trouble on the other side, as Houston took the opener 11-2 at Minute Maid Park. The Astros scored multiple runs in four of the first seven innings, improving to 31-18 on the season. The Giants fell back below .500 (24-25) and the road doesn’t get any easier. They’ll face Justin Verlander and his 1.05 ERA on Wednesday.
The Giants knew this could be the toughest 48-hour stretch of the season. Here’s what you need to know from the first night…
—- Suarez retired six straight to start the night and then walked into a buzzsaw. The Astros scored three in the third on three doubles and a single, and added two more in the fourth. Suarez was charged with five earned on seven hits in four innings. He has a 5.68 ERA. It’s not clear if he’ll make his next start, which is scheduled to come at Coors Field.
—- Brandon Crawford definitely earned Thanksgiving bragging rights. He blooped a single off Cole, his brother-in-law, in the second and then lined a two-run shot into the Crawford Boxes in left field in the fifth. Crawford has said he doesn’t like facing Cole because they’re so close (they hung out on the off day with the rest of the family). He’s 6-for-20 off Cole.
—- Cole struck out eight in six innings. He has 101 strikeouts this season. The Giants’ leaders in strikeouts are Chris Stratton and Derek Holland, with 42.
—- The Giants brought in another pitcher, Josh Osich, instead of an outfielder, because Bruce Bochy felt he needed the depth. He was right. The bullpen ended up soaking up five innings. Osich pitched two, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks.