Astros complete the sweep of the Angels

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 11-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With the series victory already locked up by winning the first two games on Friday and Saturday, the Astros went after the series sweep on Sunday afternoon. Here is a recap of the finale against the Angels:

Final Score: Astros 11, Angels 2.

Record: 85-47, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-6, 5.14 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jaime Barria (4-7, 6.10 ERA).

1) Valdez works around early trouble to post a quality start

Framber Valdez, filling the rotation spot for Aaron Sanchez while he sits on the IL, was given the nod on Sunday. He didn't look to be out to a great start, walking two of the three batters he faced, but was able to get through the first inning without allowing a run.

He would allow a tying solo home run in the top of the second, then struggled in the top of the third. He loaded the bases with a walk, single, and a hit batter, but was able to navigate through the jam with two strikeouts and a groundout.

Something must have clicked for him after that, as he would go on to post three more efficient innings while his offense put him in line for the win. Valdez's final line in what ended up being a quality start: 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 8 K, 1 HR.

2) Houston's offense explodes late to finish the sweep

Meanwhile, Houston's only early run came in the bottom of the first after Jose Altuve reached base on a leadoff double, moved to third on a flyout, then scored on an RBI-groundout by Yordan Alvarez. The Angels quickly tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second, and it would stay tied until the bottom of the fourth. In that inning, Yordan Alvarez worked a walk to lead things off, moved to third on a single by Yuli Gurriel, then scored on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, giving Houston the lead back at 2-1.

With Valdez done after six innings, Hector Rondon took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and retired the Angels in order. The Astros extended their lead to three runs in the bottom of the inning, getting a leadoff walk by Abraham Toro who would score on a two-run home run by Martin Maldonado, making it a 4-1 game.

Joe Smith was next out of Houston's bullpen and worked around a leadoff single to maintain the lead in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, Michael Brantley led off by extending his hitting streak to 18 games with a single. Myles Straw's speed was brought in to pinch-run, and it came into effect with the very next batter as Alex Bregman roped a ball into the left-field corner, an RBI-double to make it 5-1.

That sparked a seven-run inning with an RBI-single by Toro, a run on a passed ball, a two-RBI double by Josh Reddick, then a two-run homer by Jose Altuve. That pushed the lead to 11-1, and Chris Devenski was able to wrap things up in the ninth, despite allowing a two-out solo home run to make it 11-2.

Up Next: Houston gets a day off and will get to stay home for it on Monday, with their next game at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday evening against the Rays. The first of that three-game set starts at 7:10 PM and will be a terrific pitching matchup as Justin Verlander (15-5, 2.77 ERA) goes to the mound for the Astros to face former-teammate Charlie Morton (13-5, 2.85 ERA) for Tampa Bay.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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