Framber Valdéz, Houston Astros
Framber Valdéz is 3-1 this season in six starts; he has an ERA of 2.95 Michael Starghill/Via Photos via Getty Images)

SEATTLE - When Framber Valdéz was asked by manager Joe Espada to step up and go deep into the game, the Dominican did exactly that.

With a series of injuries and suspensions, the Astros bullpen was down five pitchers in its rotation for the game against the Oakland Athletics on May 15. But that wasn't a problem for Valdéz, as he pitched seven scoreless innings to earn the team's third win of the season.

"My mentality usually stays the same, but some of the other aspects need to change and adjust when I know I have to go deep into games," Valdéz said. "I have to throw my sinker in the strike zone and try to avoid dangerous counts for hitters, and I think that's how I'm able to pitch deep into games."

That mentality was firing on all cylinders on Wednesday night, giving Valdéz a season-high eight strikeouts and only two walks. He threw 97 pitches, 59 of which were strikes. The Dominican has only allowed two runs in three games this season in which he threw in seven or more innings.

Framber Valdéz, Houston Astros
Framber Valdéz pitches vs Oakland on May 15 Via

Valdéz relied heavily on his sinker and curveball and generated 11 ground-ball outs, including a double play in the third inning. His 10 ground-ball double plays rank first among Astros pitchers this season, four more than Seth Martínez in second place.

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