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.

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Houston looked much more like themselves

Astros return to form in win over Angels at home

Cristian Javier was impressive Thursday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hoping to avoid spiraling further out of control, the Astros turned the page from their disappointing road trip and the recent stretch of games. They hoped to start this new homestand on a good note, welcoming in the Angels for four games of this eight-game stint at Minute Maid Park.

Houston would get the much-needed win, with their offense coming alive early in the game to put up big innings, which they rode to the victory thanks in part to a great start by Cristian Javier.

Final Score: Astros 8, Angels 2

Astros' Record: 8-10, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Alex Cobb (1-1)

Astros' offense starts clicking early

Houston would grab the early momentum, despite leaving the bases loaded in the first inning. They would get a leadoff double by Aledmys Diaz in the bottom of the second, followed by an RBI triple by Myles Straw to jump in front 1-0. They made it a three-run inning, with an RBI by Carlos Correa then a bases-loaded RBI-walk by Yuli Gurriel, though for consecutive innings would leave three runners stranded on base.

Correa drove in another in the bottom of the next inning, getting an RBI single to push the lead to four runs, then would come in on a two-run single by Alex Bregman, who made it 6-0. That set things up nicely for Cristian Javier, who was on the mound trying to take advantage of the opportunity for another start.

Javier has an electric start



Javier was electric over the first three innings, including getting eight of the first nine outs by strikeout while allowing only a walk and double during that span. He would have longer innings in the next two, but in both cases would keep the Angels off the board, finishing in line for the win. His final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 98 P.

Houston gets the much-needed win

Meanwhile, Houston's offense kept scoring. They pushed the lead two runs further over the fourth and fifth, getting a run in each with another RBI each for Straw and Bregman. With Javier's night done, Bryan Abreu was first out of the Astros bullpen, and despite allowing a controversial two-run home run to Albert Pujols, of all people, that looked to be a foul ball, got through the inning.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the seventh but would get just one out while hitting a batter and allowing a single before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to face the heavy left-handed part of the Angels lineup. Raley would get through it, sending things to the seventh-inning stretch with the six-run lead intact.

Raley would get another out before Joe Smith would finish that inning in the top of the eighth. Ryan Pressly, who has been starved for work lately with no save opportunities, would close things out in the ninth as Houston would start this series off with a win.

Up Next: Game two of this four-game set will be another 7:10 PM start on Friday night. Andrew Heaney (1-1, 5.65 ERA) will be on the mound for the Angels, while Zack Greinke (2-1, 2.81 ERA) will look to repeat the success of his last start; an eight-inning shutout performance for the Astros.

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