Bieber goes 7 strong innings, Giménez homers as Guardians blank Astros 5-0 in series finale

Royals beat slumping Astros 6-5

CLEVELAND (AP) — Shane Bieber had his most dominant start this season with nine strikeouts over seven innings and Andrés Giménez homered, leading the Cleveland Guardians over the Houston Astros 5-0 on Sunday.

Bieber (5-3) gave up just three hits, walked two and was in command from the outset. The right-hander came in with just eight strikeouts combined in his previous three starts before matching his season-high set against Detroit on May 9.

Trevor Stephan and closer Emmanuel Clase pitched an inning apiece to finish the four-hitter.

Giménez connected for a two-run homer in the second inning off Brandon Bielak (3-3) and Josh Bell added a solo shot in the fourth as the surging Guardians, who have won six of eight and 10 of 16, took a series from Houston for the first time since 2017.

Bieber had little trouble with a Houston lineup missing All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve (rest) and MLB RBIs leader Yordan Alvarez (injured).

The 28-year-old Bieber, who has been the subject of trade speculation, held the Astros without a hit until the fourth when Kyle Tucker grounded a a two-out single into right. But as has been the case so far in 2023, Bieber, whose velocity has been down, worked around trouble by not making many mistakes.

Houston only got one runner to second off Bieber, but Yainer Diaz’s leadoff double in the fifth was wasted as Cleveland’s ace struck out two and got a force.

Giménez connected for his first homer in nearly one month in the second, driving a 1-0 pitch from Bielak over the wall in right after Bell reached on a broken-bat blooper. The Guardians have been looking for more power from Giménez, who has just four homers after hitting 17 in 2022.

Bell made it 3-0 in the fourth with his fifth homer, a 426-foot blast into the bullpens in center field.


Astros manager Dusty Baker had been hopeful Alvarez could be back in 10 days, but said “probably not” when asked if that timetable seemed realistic.

“That’s a big man with some big muscles to heal,” Baker cracked.

Alvarez was leading the majors with 55 RBIs when he strained his right oblique during an at-bat against Toronto on Thursday. Alvarez is batting .272 with 17 homers. He reached base in 19 straight games before getting hurt.


Houston rookie Grae Kessinger collected his first major league hit, a chopper off the plate in the fifth that Cleveland third baseman Gabriel Arias tried to barehand.

Kessinger, who was called up earlier this week, is the grandson of Don Kessinger, a six-time All-Star shortstop with the Cubs.


Astros: LHP Matt Gage was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land and was immediately used. He replaced Bielak in the sixth and shut down a none-out, bases-loaded situation with a strikeout and double play. Gage was brought up after Ryne Stanek went on the bereavement/family emergency list an hour before Saturday’s game.

Guardians: Giménez was taken out in sixth inning as a precaution with left leg tightness. … RHP Cal Quantrill seemed to throw without any issues in the outfield before the game as Cleveland’s training and medical staff observed. Quantrill has been out since June 2 with shoulder inflammation.


Astros: A welcomed day off before opening a three-game series at home against Washington on Tuesday. RHP Hunter Brown (5-3, 3.69 ERA) will start the opener against Nationals LHP Patrick Corbin (4-6, 4.89 ERA).

Guardians: Head West and open a three-game set in San Diego on Tuesday with rookie RHP Tanner Bibee (2-1, 3.05) starting against Padres RHP Joe Musgrove (3-2, 4.35).

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