Astros drop all four in Anaheim

Angels continue to out-slug Astros to complete four-game sweep

Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

With the Angles already locking up the series win by taking the first three games, including sweeping a doubleheader on Saturday, the Astros tried to salvage a game in the four-game set on Sunday. Here is how they did:

Final Score: Angels 9, Astros 5.

Record: 21-19, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Mike Mayers (1-0, 2.93 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-3, 3.61 ERA).

Astros score an early lead, Angels take it away immediately

Houston would continue bringing in runs in the first innings of games, taking an immediate 2-0 lead in Sunday's game after a one-out walk by Josh Reddick set up a two-run home run by Kyle Tucker. Aledmys Diaz extended the lead by one more run, hitting a solo home run in the next inning to make it 3-0.

Framber Valdez would falter in the second and third innings and give up that three-run lead, though, allowing three consecutive singles in the second to score run, then giving up three in the third on a two-run home run by Anthony Rendon and a sacrifice fly.

Astros tie as Houston leans on Valdez a bit too far

The game stayed 4-3 over the next few innings until the bottom of the sixth when the Angels would get another run on an RBI-single to make it 5-3. Carlos Correa got that run back immediately to lead off the top of the seventh, crushing a solo home run to make it a one-run game. The Astros went on to tie the game a few batters later thanks to an RBI-double by Abraham Toro, but despite having a runner on third with one out, they could not retake the lead in the inning.

Despite the tough middle innings and allowing the runs along the way, Valdez would give his team a much-needed lengthy outing on the mound, completing seven full innings before returning to the mound nearing 100 pitches in the bottom of the eighth. Leaving him out there would end up costing Houston, as he would allow three straight singles to start the inning to give the Angels another go-ahead run at 6-5 and end his day.

Angels complete the four-game sweep

Chris Devenski would enter out of Houston's bullpen, still no outs in the inning, and issued back-to-back walks to bring in another run. Los Angeles then blew it open with a two-RBI single to make it 9-5 before Brooks Raley would enter to get two strikeouts to finally put an end to the inning. The Astros would come up empty in the top of the ninth, giving Los Angeles the four-game sweep.

Up Next: Houston will travel up the California coast tonight to begin a five-game series with the A's over the next four days. The series will start Monday at 8:10 PM Central with Cristian Javier (4-1, 3.35 ERA) pitching for the Astros and Chris Bassitt (2-2, 3.72 ERA) on the bump for the A's.

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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