Astros' Framber Valdez pitching no-hitter through 8 innings against Guardians

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Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez delivers during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Guardians, Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

HOUSTON – Houston's Framber Valdez has not allowed a hit through eight innings against the Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.

Valdez retired the first 12 batters, with six strikeouts, before Oscar Gonzalez walked to open the fifth. But Valdez still faced the minimum in that inning thanks to a double play.

Gabriel Arias grounded out to start the sixth before a lineout by Myles Straw. Cam Gallagher then grounded out to end the sixth.

Valdez retired all threw batters in the seventh on groundouts. The first two were routine. But Valdez deflected a high chopper hit by José Ramírez and Jeremy Pena's throw to first barely beat Ramírez there for the third out.

Valdez struck out Gonzalez to start the eighth and retired David Fry and Will Brennan on groundouts to end the inning.

The left-hander has thrown 81 pitches with 58 strikes.

The Astros lead 2-0 after a two-run single by Kyle Tucker in the third.

The strong start comes after he allowed eight hits and six runs — both season highs — in 3 2/3 innings of a 13-5 loss to Texas in his last outing.

Valdez became the ace of Houston's staff this season after Justin Verlander signed with the Mets. But Verlander was sent back to the Astros in a blockbuster trade-deadline deal Tuesday, giving Houston a powerful 1-2 punch.