Houston takes the opener against LA
Astros' big inning pushes them over the top against Angels
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
Ain't no sunshine. @ABREG_1 #ForTheH pic.twitter.com/SbpASNh1cU
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 11, 2021
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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