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Astros Spank Angels, 11-4

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Framber Valdez and big bats give Astros easy win.

Los Angeles Angels v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Framber Valdez continued to impress as a reliable #2 starter in the depleted Astros rotation, and the bats broke out for 11 hits and 11 runs, including four doubles and a homer, in a dominant 11-4 win over the struggling LA Angels.

An increasingly familiar name started the Astros scoring in the bottom of second inning. Kyle Tucker launched a ball in 404 feet, exit velocity 107.7, off starter Patrick Sandoval into right field to put the Astros up 1-0. It was his fifth homer of the season, and third in his last six games. Yuli Gurriel followed Tucker with a double, who scored the second Astros run on a Josh Reddick single.

The Halos got a run back in the second playing a little small ball. Andrelton Simmons started the inning with a walk, and took second on a sacrifice bunt by Anthony Bemboom. Simmons stole third when third baseman Jack Mayfield dropped the ball on the tag. Simmons then scored on an infield hit to Yuli Gurriel by David Fletcher. If pitcher Framber Valdez had covered first, Fletcher would have probably been out. Shohei Ohtani got on base on an error by Jose Altuve. But despite the series of defensive miscues, Valdez limited the damage to one run by retiring Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon.

The Astros added three more runs in the bottom of the third starting with Altuve and Tucker walks. Altuve scored on a fielder’s error, Gurriel scored on a Michael Brantley double, and Reddick got his second RBI with a single to score Brantley.

But the Angels came back with a run of their own in the fourth with a Justin Upton solo home run.

The Angels seemed to make it a game in the fifth with two more runs on a Rendon single that scored Fletcher, and an Albert Pujols single that scored Mike Trout to make the score 5-4.

But a four run sixth inning by the Astros put the game out of reach of the Halos. It started when Reddick and Martin Maldonado walked, and the bases got loaded when George Springer was hit by a pitch. (He left the game but test results on his elbow were negative) With two outs and a 3-2 count, Carlos Correa hit a three run double, followed by a Tucker RBI double.

The Astros added two more runs in the seventh on a two run double by Myles Straw over the head of Mike Trout.

Although Valdez was nicked for four earned runs, it was another excellent start for the youngster and better than that statistic would indicate. Fielding problems contributed to two of the runs, but Framber was able to eat seven innings and allowed six hits, only two walks (Valdez’ traditional bugaboo), with a career high 11 Ks, all on his killer curve. The average exit velocity on balls in play was only 83.5 mph. Valdez also had a career high pitch count, 113, including consecutive K’s to Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout to end his outing in the seventh.

Don’t look now, but who’s the team leader in runs, RBI, home runs, slugging percentage and OPS. It’s TED, of course, Kyle Tucker.

Tomorrow the Astros have a doubleheader, the first game at 3:10, and the other at 8:10 CDT. Cristian Javier is slated to start game 1, with the starter of game two still unannounced.

Box score and videos HERE.