Houston takes the opener against LA

Astros' big inning pushes them over the top against Angels

Alex Bregman was 3-for-4 with 4 RBI in Friday's game against the Angels. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

After winning the series by taking two of three against the Mariners earlier in the week to keep their lead in the AL West intact, the Astros welcomed in a more beatable AL West foe on Friday in the Angels. They would endure some back-and-forth early in the game, ultimately using a big inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 82-58, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (10-5)

Losing Pitcher: Shohei Ohtani (9-2)

Teams trade runs early

There were plenty of runs to go around in the early stages of Friday's opener, with the Angels tagging Framber Valdez with an unusually poor start. They knocked solo homers in each the first and the second, with Shohei Ohtani starting the scoring in the top of the first with his to put the Angels in front 1-0.

The Astros put together a three-run go-ahead inning in the third, getting three straight two-out RBI hits: a single by Alex Bregman, a double by Yordan Alvarez, and then a single by Carlos Correa to grab a 3-2 lead. Los Angeles responded in the top of the fourth, retaking the lead with two RBI of their own against Valdez to make it 4-3. Valdez would go on to finish one more inning, with the Angels scoring another run on an error, finishing his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 6 K, 2 HR, 97 P.

Houston scores six in the fourth

Valdez would still leave in line for the win despite the poor start, thanks to a huge fourth inning by his offense. They started by knocking Ohtani out of the game, putting two on base before getting a game-tying RBI single by Jose Altuve.

Both of Ohtani's runners would eventually score as the Angels' bullpen would give up a two-RBI double to Alex Bregman to give Houston the lead, then later allowed a run on catcher's interference and an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz, who started the frame by being hit by a pitch. The game remained at 9-5 until the bottom of the seventh, when Alex Bregman would get a one-out sac fly to put Houston at double digits, 10-5.

Astros take the opener

As far as Houston's bullpen went, Phil Maton entered to relieve Valdez in the top of the sixth, working around a one-out single for a scoreless inning. Brooks Raley was next, and he lasted two innings, both scoreless, to get through the seventh and eighth. Ryne Stanek took over in the top of the ninth and erased a leadoff single to finish Houston's win. The victory puts them in line for yet another series victory and keeps their lead in the division put as they start to consider their magic number as September reaches its mid-point.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game series will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. The pitching matchup is expected to be Jose Suarez (6-7, 3.74 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (10-6, 3.29 ERA) for Houston.

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TEXANS MAKE SURPRISING CUT

Texans to release prominent player on defense

Zach Cunningham is on his way out of Houston. Composite image by Jack Brame.

According to multiple reports, the Texans are waiving LB Zach Cunningham. Cunningham was benched last Sunday for disciplinary reasons, which reportedly stemmed from a missed COVID test. Cunningham was also benched for a quarter earlier in the season for breaking team rules.

According to Ian Rapoport, the Texans will have to eat his 12.8 million dollar cap hit next season.

Cunningham started in seven of the 10 games he’s played this season recording 67 tackles and a forced fumble. The Texans are at a point where there's hardly anyone left on the team that has any name recognition with what's left of the fan base. And now the Texans have another position that will have to be addressed this offseason.

Cunningham will likely command a lot of attention from other teams interested in his services.

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