Houston takes two of three from LA

Tucker's homer lifts Astros to series win over Angels

Kyle Tucker's fifth inning homer ended up being the difference in Sunday's series finale against the Angels. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, the Astros hoped to have an outing more like their performance in Friday's opener than Saturday's middle game. Although it would be as strong of an offensive performance as that, they would get enough runs and have solid pitching to win the series.

Final Score: Astros 3, Angels 1

Astros' Record: 83-59, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Quijada (0-1)

Houston strikes first, Angels tie it up against McCullers Jr.

After Lance McCullers Jr. would erase a leadoff single and walk for a scoreless top of the first, Houston would get the scoring started in the bottom half. A leadoff single by Jose Altuve would get him in position, after a one-out walk, to score later in the inning on an RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, putting them in front 1-0.

McCullers Jr. held that lead well through four innings, hitting a batter in the second, allowing a single in the fourth, but retiring the other batters he faced along the way over that span. Los Angeles tied the game up against him in the fifth, though, with a one-out solo homer, the only run he'd give up on the day, as he'd go on to finish six quality innings. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Tucker homers, bullpen holds down the lead to win the series

McCullers Jr. would end up getting the win, as before his last inning of work, his offense would give him a lead. Yuli Gurriel reached base on a one-out single, setting up Kyle Tucker in the next at-bat, who launched a 406-foot go-ahead homer to make it a 3-1 Houston lead. That gave their bullpen three innings to cover and hang on to the two-run advantage.

They'd do it well, using arguably their strongest trio of relievers, starting with Ryne Stanek in the top of the seventh, who sat down the Angels 1-2-3. Kendall Graveman had the eighth and was able to work around a leadoff walk and one-out single to maintain the lead. That presented Ryan Pressly with a save opportunity in the ninth. He would notch his 24th of the season to wrap up the win, giving Houston the series win and continuing to dwindle their magic number to win the division in 2021.

Up Next: With this homestand over, the Astros will take back to the road, traveling up to Arlington to take on the Rangers for the final four games of the year in a series starting Monday at 7:05 PM Central. The opener's pitching matchup sets up to be Jake Odorizzi (6-7, 4.28 ERA) for Houston and Spencer Howard (0-3, 6.21 ERA) for Texas.

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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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