Houston gets back in the win column

Kyle Tucker's big night helps fuel Astros to win over Angels

Photo by Rich Schultz / Getty Images

After a tense two-game series against the Dodgers in Houston earlier in the week, the Astros made their first trip on the road, starting with the opener of a three-game series against the Angels in Los Angeles on Friday night. Here is how that game went:

Final Score: Astros 9, Angels 6.

Record: 4-3, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brandon Bielak (2-0, 1.69 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Matt Andriese (0-1, 4.91 ERA).

Astros jump in front with big second inning

After a scoreless first inning, the Astros had their first chance at runs in the top of the second. They loaded the bases with one out, and Kyle Tucker would drive in two with a two-RBI double to put Houston out front 2-0. Still with one out, George Springer came to the plate with the bases loaded again and was able to work a walk to bring in another run. Jose Altuve followed, and he beat out a double-play to drive in another, extending the lead to 4-0.

Both teams go back and forth, ending McCullers Jr's night at after four innings

After getting through the first two innings scoreless, Lance McCullers Jr. ran into trouble in the bottom of the third, giving up a walk and single to set up an RBI-single to get the Angels on the board. Los Angeles would load the bases with two outs, but McCullers Jr. would get out of the jam with a strikeout to end the inning.

Kyle Tucker helped get the lead back to four runs at 5-1 in the top of the fourth, getting a leadoff single, stealing second, moving to third on a wild pitch, then scoring on an RBI sac fly by George Springer. However, the Angels answered right back with a big inning in the bottom half, getting an RBI-double and two-run homer off of McCullers Jr. to cut the lead to 5-4. He would finish the inning, but at 91 pitches, that would be the end of his night, making his final line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 1 HR.

Both teams go back and forth, but Houston holds on

Alex Bregman led off the top of the fifth with a double, moved to third on a Michael Brantley single, then scored on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel to make it a 6-4 lead. Brandon Bielak, who made a great debut against Seattle on Monday, was first out of the bullpen in the bottom of the fifth and worked around two walks for a scoreless inning.

He returned for another scoreless frame in the sixth, then the Astros added to their lead in the top of the seventh, loading the bases to set up a two-RBI single by Kyle Tucker, bringing his total to four on the night and expanding the advantage to 8-4. Bryan Abreu took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh but would face only three batters, getting a strikeout while walking two. Enoli Paredes would finish the inning, but not before allowing a run to make it 8-5.

Paredes came back out for the bottom of the eighth, and despite allowing another run to come across to make it 8-6 would get a much-needed double play to send the game to the ninth. In the top of the ninth, the Astros were able to load the bases for Jose Altuve, who added an RBI-groundout insurance run to make it 9-6. Andre Scrubb would come in for the save opportunity and preserved the three-run lead for the Houston win.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set between Houston and Los Angeles will be Saturday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Griffin Canning for the Angels going against Zack Greinke for the Astros. Greinke will try to improve upon his first start of the year in which he was only able to go 3.1 innings while allowing three runs.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

With the disappointing loss in extra innings late the night before, the Astros returned to RingCentral Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to try and even the series against the A's, who now owned a 3.5 game lead in the AL West over Houston. Here is a quick rundown of the middle game of the series:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 1.

Record: 6-8, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Frankie Montas (2-1, 1.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (0-2, 2.04 ERA).

Valdez does his job

Framber Valdez ran into stress early on Saturday, facing trouble in the bottom of the first inning. It started with a leadoff solo home run, putting Oakland up 1-0 before they would record an out. He later allowed back-to-back one-out singles to rack up his pitch count in the frame but would limit the damage to the single run.

He was able to re-focus and settle in during the following innings, getting quick, scoreless innings in the next four. In the bottom of the sixth, a leadoff groundball that likely should have been the first out was instead a single that would come back to bite Houston. That runner stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw, then scored on an RBI-groundout, doubling Oakland's lead to 2-0. Valdez would go one more inning, giving Houston precisely what they needed by helping give their exhausted bullpen a break. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR.

Houston's offense unable to get anything going

Unfortunately for Houston, Frankie Montas was even more efficient on the other side. Houston was only able to notch two hits against him over seven innings while Montas only had to throw 86 pitches over that span. Oakland would go to their bullpen in the top of the eighth, with the Astros getting just a single in the inning.

Nivaldo Rodriguez would take over for Valdez in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a solo home run to make it 3-0 before completing the inning. Houston would get a leadoff double by Kyle Tucker to start the top of the ninth, and he would come around to score on an RBI-single by Alex Bregman. That's as close as Houston would get, though, as Oakland would finish off the win to secure the series and extend Houston's losing streak to four games.

Up Next: The final game of this series and Houston's nine-game road trip will be on Sunday at 3:10 PM Central. Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 2.31 ERA) will make a start for the A's while Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.42 ERA) will look to continue his success in 2020 for the Astros.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome