Houston continues to lose in heartbreaking fashion

Astros swept by Angels after several blown leads in high-scoring doubleheader

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

After the deflating loss in extra innings to start the series, the Astros had a chance at two wins on Saturday, playing a doubleheader against the Angels in Los Angeles. Here are how both games unfolded:

Game 1

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 10, Astros 9.

Record: 21-17, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Felix Pena (3-0, 3.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (1-2, 3.60 ERA).

Both teams trade blows early

After the same duo brought in the walk-off run the night prior, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani worked together to score the doubleheader's first run on an RBI-single by Ohtani, giving Los Angeles a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Astros responded quickly, getting a solo home run by Kyle Tucker in the top of the second to even the game 1-1.

The expanded upon that by putting up three runs with two outs in the top of the third, two on a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, then an RBI-infield single by Kyle Tucker, giving Houston a 4-1 lead. Trout would strike again in the bottom of the same inning, hitting a two-run home run to make it a one-run game at 4-3, then Jo Adell started the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to tie the game. Brandon Bielak, Houston's starter, would record two more outs before Dusty Baker would dip into his bullpen to try and slow the recent surge by the Angels. His final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 77 P.

The back and forth continues

Chris Devenski would make his return to the mound off the injured list for Houston, appearing in his first game since July 26th, finishing the fourth for Bielak. George Springer led off the fifth with a triple, then scored on a go-ahead RBI-single by Myles Straw. Straw would later come around to score on another RBI by Kyle Tucker, a single to make it 6-4.

Devenski continued in the fifth and would complete the inning, but not before a double by Mike Trout would turn into a two-run game-tying home run by Justin Upton, making it 6-6 with two innings left. The Angels would go back in front in the bottom of the sixth against Cy Sneed, getting a one-out walk then RBI-double to make it 7-6, and nearly made it 8-6 if not for a great throw to get a runner out at home.

Astros go up two in the seventh, Angels do one better to take game 2

Down to their last three outs to try and tie or go-ahead, the Astros would break through. Myles Straw led off the frame with a double, then scored in the next at-bat with an RBI-single by Michael Brantley to tie the game. Later in the inning, Carlos Correa would come through with a big two-out double to keep the inning alive, setting up the go-ahead two-RBI single by Martin Maldonado, putting Houston back out front at 9-7.

Blake Taylor, who finished the sixth for Cy Sneed, would try to wrap things up in the bottom of the seventh to help Houston avoid dipping further into their depleted bullpen. Instead, he issued back-to-back walks, prompting a change to bring in Enoli Parades. Paredes would not be unable to get it done, though, allowing an RBI-double before a walk-off two-RBI single to hand the Angels the win in Game 1.

Game 2

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 7, Astros 6.

Record: 21-18, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Noe Ramirez (1-0, 4.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 8.31 ERA).

Astros keep the scoring going in Game 2

With the second game being a makeup of a game meant to be at Minute Maid Park, the Astros would play as the home team with the Angels batting first. That meant Jose Urquidy, making his 2020 debut after missing time due to a positive COVID test and resulting quarantine period, would be on the mound first. He was able to erase a two-out walk of Mike Trout for a scoreless first inning.

George Springer would give the Astros the first run of game two, leading off the bottom of the first with a dinger to make it a 1-0 Houston lead. They extended the early lead in the bottom of the second, getting two on base to start the inning to set up a three-run home run by Josh Reddick, making it 4-0.

Urquidy allows a couple of runs in his return

The Angels would get their first run against Urquidy in the top of the fourth, as Mike Trout would once again reach base with a double before later scoring on an RBI-single by Albert Pujols. He would go on to load the bases with one out, and the Astros would cede one run for an out on an RBI-groundout, making it 4-2 and leaving runners on second and third.

Dusty Baker, who likely was reaching Urquidy's pitch limit for the night, used the opportunity to move to another returning pitcher, Brad Peacock. Peacock would get the final out of the inning, making Urquidy's line final: 3.2 IP, 4H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 63 P.

Springer homers again, but another blown lead hands Angels the doubleheader sweep

Peacock would face traffic in the top of the fifth, putting the first two runners on base with a single and a hit-by-pitch. Both would advance on a long out by Trout before scoring on a two-RBI single by none other than Albert Pujols, knotting the game up 4-4. George Springer would put the Astros back in front in the bottom of the inning, hitting his second home run of the game, this a two-run go-ahead dinger off of Jo Adell's glove to make it 6-4.

With Peacock also reaching his pitch limit, the Astros turned to one of their last fresh arms, Humberto Castellanos, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth. He returned to try and complete a two-inning save in the top of the seventh, but after putting two on base on a single and walk would allow a three-run go-ahead bomb to Anthony Rendon, giving the Angels a 7-6 lead. Los Angeles would hold Houston scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, sweeping the doubleheader.

Up Next: The final game of this four-game set will start at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. The expecting pitching matchup is Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.58 ERA) for the Astros and Jaime Barria (0-0, 2.63 ERA) for the Angels.

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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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