Astros don’t need sign-stealing to beat listless Giants 5-1

Houston Astros’ Martin Maldonado hits a three-run home run against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

By Jeremy Harness

The Giants got off to a nice start on Wednesday, but they could not get any further momentum going, and they fell to the Houston Astros, 5-1, at Minute Maid Park.

In the process, they dropped two of the three-game series to the defending American League champions, who have been found to have used different elaborate forms of sign-stealing over the course of at least three years, including the World Series-winning 2017 season.

After Alex Dickerson singled in Mike Yastrzemski to give the Giants a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Astros, who didn’t need the help of a banging garbage can to tell them what pitch was coming, began to tee off on the Giants’ bullpen starting in the fifth inning.

Houston tied it in the fifth on Alex Bregman’s single off Dereck Rodriguez scored George Springer.

The following inning, the Astros continued to tee off. Carlos Correa, who last week was struck out and then mocked by Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly, which touched off a benches-clearing confrontation (social distancing was not maintained, by the way), scored on a wild pitch to give Houston the lead.

Martin Maldonado quickly followed with a three-run homer off reliever Caleb Baragar to extend the lead to four runs.

The only thing that the Giants did well following the fifth inning was that they did not get into a benches-clearing incident – unlike the Astros and Dodgers last week – to put themselves in danger of contracting COVID-19.

On the other hand, things were so good for the Astros that starting pitcher Zack Greinke called out a pitch he was to throw to Mauricio Dubon – yeah, he actually did that – and Dubon took the gift and promptly flied out to center to end the inning.

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