The Houston Astros continued their MLB season, hosting the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park, Houston, on Sunday. It was their last game out of a three-game series against the Angels. The Astros finished the series with a sweep of 8-1, 9-1, and 4-2.
As the road team, the Angels were after a 4-1 win against the Chicago White Sox at their home at Anaheim but could not win any versus Dusty Baker’s team, who put starter Framber Valdez on the mound. The 28-year-old pitcher recorded his career-high 13 strikeouts.
Baker also played Astros’ Jeremy Peña, who blasts two home runs to secure the 4-2 against Phil Nevin’s squad.
With play from Valdez, who struck out 13 times in six innings, the Astros had a total of 20 strikeouts. He also allowed two runs on three hits and five walks. After the play, the American-Dominican pitcher said it was both emotional and exciting for him.
"It's something that is very emotional and very exciting for me," Valdez said through a translator after the game. "It's very special to be a part of that."
Commenting on Valdez' performance, Baker said that, as a starter, Valdez was playing well, especially about the high number of strikes out.
"It's very impressive. He was throwing strikes," he said "Boy, that's a lot."
According to ESPN Stats and Information research, the Astros' 20 strikeouts are the most in franchise history. The previous record was 18 when Houston was led by Roger ‘Rocket’ Clemens in 1964 in the match against Cincinnati.
The other seven strikeouts were by relievers Hector Neris and Rafael Montero, with two strikeouts, and the 33-year-old Ryan Pressly, who struck out three in the last inning.
In the hitting lineup, Baker put some names as the batter against José Suarez, who started on the mound for the Angels, namely their rookie Peña, Jose Altuve, and Yuli Gurriel. The rookie recorded two homers, with a two-run drive in the ninth inning off Angels’ reliever Ryan Tepera to win the game for Houston. He was thrilled and said the win was great after the homer.
"To do it on a walk-off, it's unreal," Peña said. "It's always fun walking it off, you get the win ... and it's great."
Peña had four hits in that game, and after the two homers, he recorded 11th in total for the Astros in this 2022 MLB season. Also, he recorded three RBIs with two runs to the plate. Other than the Astros' offensive performance, the Angels’ catching coach Bill Haselman said that the Astros were playing a good pitching game because of having many good pitchers.
"They just have a lot of good arms out there," he said. "They have a lot of good pitchers in the bullpen, and they were able to just beat us today."
On Angel's side, in the suspension of Nevin, CF Mike Trout finished 0-for-11 and struck out nine in the series. Other players who scored for the Angels were Luis Rengifo, who homered in the second, and, Shohei Ohtani’s RBI single in the next innings.
After this series, Houston will start the first pitch of a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals on Monday and will start Jake Odorizzi at the mound, and the Angels will try to bounce back to face Miami Marlins in their opener with Sandy Alcántara as a starting pitcher.
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