Framber Valdez had one rough inning in an otherwise strong start in Saturday's game against the Padres. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images
With a late go-ahead inning to take the opener on Friday, the Astros tried to get an impressive series victory with a win on Saturday in San Diego. The Padres denied that, though, by outslugging Houston to take the game.
Final Score: Padres 10, Astros 2
Astros' Record: 79-56, first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Joe Musgrove (10-8)
Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez (9-5)
Astros strike first, Padres respond against Valdez
Tucker does it again 💣#ForTheH pic.twitter.com/IcrJaACYXf
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 5, 2021
After scoring the final runs of Friday night's opener, Houston's offense started the scoring in Saturday's middle game. With two outs in the top of the first, they strung together three straight singles, the third an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to put the Astros in front 1-0. Kyle Tucker doubled the lead in the top of the second, blasting a leadoff homer to make it back-to-back at-bats with homers.
San Diego responded by taking over the offensive momentum in the bottom of the inning, tagging Framber Valdez with four runs on four hits and a balk, putting Houston behind 4-2. Valdez rebounded well from that rough inning, getting through six innings and not allowing any more runs after the second. His final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 92 P.
Padres keep scoring to even up the series
Cristian Javier took over for Valdez in the bottom of the seventh, a rough inning for him. He allowed a leadoff walk, which turned into a two-run homer by Manny Machado. He followed that with another walk, and with two outs, watched that turn into another two-run blast, extending San Diego's lead to 8-2.
After another scoreless inning by Houston's offense in the top of the eighth, Josh James took over out of the bullpen, making his 2021 debut in return from injury. He would also deal with the damage of a walk, allowing one to set up a two-out two-run homer to extend the Padres' lead to 10-2. That score would go final, with the Astros going down scoreless again in the top of the ninth, evening up the series 1-1 to set up a rubber game.
Up Next: The finale of this series will begin at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Luis Garcia (10-6, 3.23 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, going opposite Chris Paddack (7-6, 4.98 ERA) for San Diego.
Jamal Shead hit a short follow shot with 0.4 seconds left and No. 1 Houston beat Oklahoma 87-85 on Saturday night, giving coach Kelvin Sampson a victory over one of his former schools.
Shead missed a driving layup attempt, but corralled the rebound and put the Cougars back ahead after they blew a 15-point lead. Emanuel Sharp tipped away a desperation pass by Oklahoma’s Milos Uzan as time expired.
“The main thing (on the last shot) was to get it to the rim,” Sampson said. “We weren’t going to shoot anything outside of 5 feet. There were three ways to win that game — a whistle, make the shot or (grab) an offensive rebound and put it in — and we got the third one.”
Sampson credited the result to Houston’s “winning DNA. We had a lot of things go against us tonight. … We were just plugging the holes in the boat up.”
L.J. Cryer led Houston (26-3, 13-3 Big 12) with 23 points, making 5 of 9 3-pointers. J’Wan Roberts added 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, and Shead scored 14 points. Houston shot 56.7% from the field and Oklahoma was at 52.7%.
Rivaldo Soares had 16 points for Oklahoma (19-10, 7-9). Le’Tre Darthard had 15 points, finishing 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
Sampson coached Oklahoma from 1994 to 2006 and ranks second in program history with 279 wins and first in winning percentage (.719). Before Saturday, he’d never coached against the Sooners, but Houston’s entry into the Big 12 for this basketball season provided that opportunity.
Sampson received a warm welcome as he entered the Lloyd Noble Arena court, with many fans applauding, cheering and standing. Just before player introductions, Sampson and his three assistants with Oklahoma ties — former players Hollis Price, Quannas White and Kellen Sampson, his son — were individually recognized with announcements and pictured on the video board.
“The memories that I will take from here are just amazing,” Kelvin Sampson said. “Oklahoma will always be home in a lot of ways.”
Houston made its first week this season at No. 1 a successful one, with two wins. The Cougars are a game ahead of No. 8 Iowa State in the conference standings with two games left in the regular season and remain in the conversation for the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Houston has won eight of the last nine games it has played as the No. 1-ranked team and is 35-5 overall while atop the AP poll.
Oklahoma dropped its second game of the week against a top-10 opponent, having lost 58-45 at Iowa State on Wednesday night.
The Sooners pushed Houston to the limit. Houston led 67-52 with 12:01 left, but the Sooners methodically closed that gap and Javian McCollum’s layup with 11.8 seconds left tied it at 85. It came after a hustle play by Uzan, who tracked down a rebound off a missed free throw and threw it off the leg of Sharp, allowing it to carom out of bounds.
Oklahoma coach Porter Moser said the vibe in the Sooners’ locker room was “tough. It wasn’t like they were happy to be close. They’re hurting. That’s a good sign. … That’s the elite of the elite and we’ve got to find a way to win that. That’s my job.
“I thought they were resilient battling back. Houston made tough shots, open shots, good shots. They do a lot of good things … but I thought we did too. We played the best team in the country, but we fell short. The margin of error when you play a team that good is small.”
Godwin went 6 of 6 from the field and led Oklahoma with 17 points, missing only the one free throw in six attempts as well. He also had seven rebounds.
Houston: Sampson surely appreciated the warm welcome from fans on his return to Oklahoma, but he’s undoubtedly glad to have the emotional game against the Sooners over with. Now he can push the Cougars to focus on finishing the regular season strong and prepare them for the postseason.
Oklahoma: A win over the nation’s No. 1 team might have pushed the Sooners up a line or two in NCAA tournament seeding, but the loss shouldn’t damage their postseason hopes too much. Oklahoma probably needs at least one win next week — at home against Cincinnati or at Texas — to stay comfortably off the NCAA bubble heading into the Big 12 Tournament.
Houston: At Central Florida on Wednesday night.
Oklahoma: Host Cincinnati on Tuesday night.