ASTROS SWEEP ORIOLES

Valdez's strong start helps Astros to 8-1 win to complete 3-game sweep of Orioles

Astros Framber Valdez
Astros beat the Orioles, 8-1. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Framber Valdez pitched seven solid innings and Jeremy Peña and Yainer Diaz had three RBIs apiece to give the Houston Astros a 8-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday and complete a three-game sweep.

It’s just the second time the Orioles have been swept this season after losing three in a row to the Cardinals from May 20-22.

Valdez (6-5) allowed six hits and a run with seven strikeouts in seven innings to bounce back after consecutive losses.

Jose Altuve hit a leadoff homer as the Astros jumped on Albert Suárez (3-2) for four runs in the first. Alex Bregman had a season-high four hits for Houston, which extended its winning streak to five games.

Jordan Westburg homered for a second straight game to extend Baltimore’s franchise-record streak of games with a home run to 22. But the Orioles couldn't do much else offensively as they managed just one run for a second straight game.

Suárez permitted a career-high 10 hits and tied a career-most with five runs in five innings.

Bryan King struck out one in a scoreless eighth for Houston in his major league debut and Luis Contreras allowed one hit in his debut in the ninth.

Altuve sent Suárez’s first pitch out of the park for his 38th career leadoff homer to make it 1-0. Bregman doubled and scored on a one-out single by Diaz.

Peña doubled to left field to drive in Diaz and extend the lead to 3-0. Mauricio Dubón made it 4-0 with his RBI single on a line drive to center field.

César Salazar hit a single to open Houston’s fourth before a one-out double by Bregman. The Orioles intentionally walked Yordan Alvarez to load the bases and a sacrifice fly by Diaz left Houston up 5-0.

Colton Cowser singled with one out in the fifth but was erased when Adley Rutschman grounded into a force out. Ryan Mountcastle singled after that, but Anthony Santander also grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Westburg’s home run came with one out in the sixth to cut the lead to 5-1.

Bregman singled with one out in the sixth and a single by Diaz came with two outs in the inning. They both scored when Peña smacked a double to left-center field to make it 7-1.

Altuve and Bregman hit consecutive singles to start the eighth and Altuve scored on a sacrifice fly by Diaz with two outs to extend the lead to 8-1.

UP NEXT

Orioles: LHP Cade Povich (0-1, 3.94 ERA) starts for Baltimore in the opener of a three-game series with Cleveland on Monday night.

Astros: Houston is off Monday before starting a two-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.

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Will all the Texans playmakers be satisfied with their roles in the offense? Composite Getty Image.

ESPN Texans reporter DJ Bien-Aime joined The Mina Kimes Show this weekand shared his thoughts on the Texans outlook this season.

When looking at the Texans offense, Bien-Aime pointed to Houston's play calling as being a possible issue in 2024. Bobby Slowik did a terrific job in his first season as an offensive coordinator. But he will have his hands full keeping all his playmakers happy with Stefon Diggs joining the team, and Nico Collins expecting a ton of looks after signing a massive contract extension.

Which got us thinking, are there enough catches to go around?

We took a deep dive into the 2023 numbers and here's what we found. CJ Stroud averaged 21 completions per game. And here's a breakdown of how many catches his receivers averaged last year.

Nico Collins 5.3 catches per game

Stefon Diggs (with Buffalo) 6.29 catches per game

Dalton Schultz 3.93 catches per game

Tank Dell 4.27 catches per game

Texans running backs 3.05 catches per game

If we add those up, the total is 22.84. Which means the Texans top receivers should expect a similar amount of production compared to last season. Of course, players like Noah Brown, Robert Woods, and Brevin Jordan will take targets away from Stefon Diggs and company from time to time.

But it's good to know that the Texans top pass catchers should produce numbers close to their 2023 averages. Which is a big deal for a player in a contract year like Diggs.

Another thing to note. We're factoring in that the Texans are expected to run out of 11 personnel most of the time. Which means Diggs, Collins, Dell, Schultz, and Mixon will be the only pass catchers on the field the majority of the time.

Are there concerns about the defense?

Both Kimes and Bien-Aime designated Houston's secondary as the big x-factor this year. Bien-Aime named cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. as the only player in the secondary that he truly trusts. Is he right?

Be sure to watch the video above as we react to Kimes and Bien-Aime's outlook for the Texans this year, and share our thoughts on the possible pitfalls the team will have to navigate in the short and long-term.

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