Houston locks up the series

Astros back up another solid Valdez start to secure series win over Rangers

Astros' Framber Valdez
Framber Valdez went seven innings of two-run baseball on Saturday night against the Rangers. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Framber Valdez went seven innings of two-run baseball on Saturday night against the Rangers.

With the comeback win in the opener of this series to grab their third-straight win and sixth in their last eight, the Astros entered Saturday's game looking to lock up the series and hopefully continue to distance themselves atop the division. Thanks to a more steady dose of offense, they would get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 5, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 77-52, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Kolby Allard (3-11)

Houston's full-strength lineup looks strong

Houston, who had all of their runs come in one inning the night prior, spread their offense around throughout Saturday's middle game. They put up three runs in the top of the second, getting a leadoff solo homer by Yordan Alvarez to start the scoring, then later in the frame, a two-RBI single by Martin Maldonado to go in front 3-0.

Carlos Correa provided another run in the top of the third, crushing a one-out solo shot 436 feet to extend the lead to 4-0. After the Rangers scored to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth, Houston got that run back in the top of the sixth, getting a leadoff ground-rule double by Kyle Tucker, who would later score on an RBI single by Jose Altuve, making it 5-1.

Valdez has another quality outing

The run support was welcomed by Framber Valdez, who gave his team another impressive start on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner over the first three innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the third, which he erased to keep Texas scoreless to that point. He dealt with some trouble in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with one out on a single, hit batter, and walk.

Texas would get an RBI groundout, but Valdez did well to limit the damage to one run in that inning. After rebounding with a 1-2-3 fifth, a one-out solo homer by Adolis Garcia in the bottom of the sixth cut the lead to 5-2. Valdez went on to retire the next five batters in a row, getting through seven two-run innings of work. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 85 P.

Astros secure the series

Kendall Graveman took over for Valdez in the bottom of the eighth, and despite some erratic control that resulted in two reaching base, he would get out of the inning while maintaining the three-run lead. That set up Ryan Pressly who took over in the bottom of the ninth, still ahead by three runs. Despite allowing a one-out double, he would close out the win to secure the series victory for Houston.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game series will start at 1:35 PM Central on Sunday from Arlington. Zack Greinke (11-4, 3.41 ERA) will look to get his 12th win of the season, while the Rangers are expected to give the ball to Taylor Hearn (3-4, 4.08 ERA).

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome