Houston ends three-game skid

Astros outscore Angels to take opener of four-game series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After the disappointing sweep in San Diego to end their short road-trip with three straight losses, the Astros were back at home in Minute Maid Park against the last-place Angels to try and right the ship. Here is how the series opener unfolded:

Final Score: Astros 11, Angels 4.

Record: 16-13, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.35 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Patrick Sandoval (0-4, 6.75 ERA).

Astros outscore Angels early

After a scoreless first inning on both sides, Houston would get on the board first in the bottom of the second. The first run came on a solo home run by Kyle Tucker to leadoff the inning before later an RBI-single by Josh Reddick would double the lead to 2-0.

The Angels took advantage of some sloppy baseball by the Astros in the top of the third. They scored a run to cut the lead in half by working a leadoff walk, moving the runner over on a fielder's choice, and then stealing third on a defensive miscue before getting an RBI-single to make it 2-1.

Houston responded right away, though, in the bottom of the inning. They would put together a three-run inning on an RBI-double by Michael Brantley, an RBI-single by Josh Reddick, and another scoring on an error, making it a 5-1 Astros advantage. The Angels would get one of those back in the top of the next inning, hitting a two-out solo home run off Frambre Valdez to make it 5-2.

Valdez finishes seven in line for the win

Los Angeles was able to put up two more runs against Valdez in the fifth, getting back-to-back two-out RBI-doubles to make it a one-run game at 5-4. Framber finished that inning, then returned to retire the next six batters in order over the sixth and seventh, including four more strikeouts to bring his total to eleven on the night, his last an inning-ending strikeout looking of Mike Trout. His final line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR, 113 pitches.

Houston was able to put up more runs on the Angels' bullpen in the bottom of the sixth. They worked two walks and a hit-by-pitch to load the bases, setting up a two-out bases-clearing double by Carlos Correa, followed by an RBI-double by Kyle Tucker to push the lead to 9-4.

Houston ends their three-game skid

In the bottom of the seventh, Michael Brantley led off with a double and then moved to third on a groundout. Martin Maldonado reached on a two-out walk, then Myles Straw, who entered to pinch-run for Springer earlier, would bring both in on a two-RBI double to make it a seven-run lead at 11-4.

With Valdez's night done after seven, Cionel Perez took over on the mound in the top of the eighth and retired the Angels in order for a 1-2-3 frame. He returned for the top of the ninth to finish off the game and did so to end Houston's three-game skid and take the first of four against Los Angeles.

Up Next: With tropical storm and expected hurricane Laura threatening the southeast-Texas area, the MLB decided to expedite this four-game series, moving Thursday's game to a part of a new double-header Tuesday. The first game will start at 3:05 PM Central with Jose Suarez (0-1, 33.75 ERA) working as a potential opener for a bullpen game for the Angles against Cristian Javier (2-1, 3.55 ERA) for the Astros. The second game will immediately follow with Julio Teheran (0-2, 10.38 ERA) on the mound for the Angels and a TBD starter for Houston.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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