Astros complete the sweep of the Angels

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

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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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RAVENS 33, TEXANS 16

5 observations from the Ravens win over the Texans

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Let's be honest; the Texans were not going to beat the Ravens. Baltimore has better players, a better quarterback and a better coaching staff. (And oh, a better kicker). All of that was on display in the Ravens' 33-16 win.

The Ravens move to 2-0, while the Texans dropped to 0-2 after facing the AFC's two best teams.

The Texans will still likely contend for a playoff spot, but nothing the last two weeks indicates they are anywhere near contending in the AFC. A look at five things from the Ravens win:

1) Oh, Brien...It did not take long for Bill O'Brien's goofy coaching to rear its ugly head. Down 3-0 at their own 34 as the first quarter was running out, O'Brien chose to go for it on fourth and one. The play was predictably blown up, the Ravens quickly scored to make it 10-0, and the Texans were instantly in a hole against a superior opponent. You can't give points away against the Ravens. They might have scored anyway with a punt, but there was no stopping them with a short field.

2) Some positives on defense. Despite the score, The Texans looked much better on that side of the ball against an explosive offense. J.J. Watt had two sacks, the team had four total, and they kept Lamar Jackson from destroying them. Seven of the points were scored by the Ravens defense, and O'Brien's gaffe led to seven more. The Ravens wore them down in the fourth quarter, but they played well enough until then to keep the team in the game had the offense been better. They did not force any turnovers, however, and that was one of the differences in the game. They were also blown off the ball on a fourth and one in the fourth quarter that led to the Ravens' 30th points and could not stop the run at all in the fourth quarter. But that's what the Ravens do with a lead, and the Texans offense gave them no breaks by being unable to stay on the field.

3) The difference between real contenders...The Ravens were just so much more skilled on both sides of the ball. Defensively, they focused on taking away the run. David Johnson averaged 3.1 yards per carry. Will Fuller had as many catches as you did. The Ravens forced two turnovers on just really good football plays. The Texans don't make plays like that. They might against lesser teams, but if your goal is to compete with the best, it's just not good enough.

4) Deshaun Watson needs to be better. His numbers looked so so on the surface (25 of 36, 275 yards, 1 TD, 1 interception). He was sacked four times and added 17 rushing yards on five carries. He did not make plays late when they needed one here or there to maybe get back in the game. With his big contract, it's time for Watson to stop being close to elite and take the next step. His interception was more of being fooled by Marcus Peters than throwing a bad ball, but the Texans were just 3 of 9 on third downs. Throw in the ill-advised fourth down play, and they were just 3 of 10 extending drives. Give the Ravens a lot of credit, but again, to compete with the best, you have to be better than that.

5) Now what? The Texans travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers, who have not been impressive in their two wins. Still, it's hard to see Houston as anything but serious underdogs. They are last in the AFC South, and have a lot of work to do. The defense showed some promise at times, but will have to continue to improve. The offense has a long way to go. They match up better with the Steelers than they do the Ravens and Chiefs, but that does not mean they can win. If you were hoping they would give you some indication they can be more than just also-rans, they failed to do that on any level against either the Chiefs or Ravens.

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