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Yordan Alvarez Two-Homer Night Crushes Angels 8-3

Altuve injury casts pall over victorious home-opener

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

You’d think that having not played for over a week due to illness Yordan Alvarez would be rusty. But in his first night back Yordan had two homers, four RBI, a single, and three runs scored. His homers were 107. 5 and 104.2 MPH and traveled 415 and 429 feet respectively. The single was his hardest-hit ball at 109.6 MPH.

Maybe Dusty is on to something with all this resting-players thing he’s into.

Alvarez gave the Astros the early lead with a first-inning, second-deck, two-run homer scoring Michael Brantley.

After Astros starter Luis Garcia struck out the side in the first inning, the Angels tied the score in the second on a two-out Tyler Wade double to left-center, scoring Brandon Marsh and Jack Mayfield.

The Astros scored two more in the fourth as Angels starter Michael Lorenzen began losing his control. The inning opened with consecutive singles by Alex Bregman and Alvarez, and with one out Lorenzen walked Kyle Tucker to load the bases, then Jeremy Pena for the inning’s first run. Lorenzen then hit Jose Siri for the second run scored. The bases were left loaded when Martin Maldonado popped up, and Jose Altuve hit a weak ground out.

Garcia allowed only one baserunner from inning three through five but with two outs in the sixth allowed a solo homer to former Astro Max Stassi that nicked the right field foul pole. Phil Maton replaced Garcia and recorded the third out in the sixth.

The Astros answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth without an outfield hit using old-school, small-ball tactics reminiscent of the Ty Cobb era.

Kyle Tucker opened with a walk followed by a perfect bunt-single by Jeremy Pena. (He can now officially do it all) Baker flashed the bunt sign to slugger Jose Siri who failed in two bunt attempts but managed the same result with a flyout to right that advanced Tucker to third. Maldonado then sacrificed Tucker home with a perfect safety squeeze.

The Angels tried some small ball of their own in the seventh. After consecutive singles by “Super” Jack Mayfield and Jo Adell, Tyler Ward bunted both runners up one base. But Andrew Velazquez’s bunt straight to Maton failed to score Mayfield. After an intentional walk to Shohei Ohtani Taylor Ward flied out for out three stranding the bases loaded for the Angels without a run.

Alvarez put the game away for the Astros with his second homer, this one coming off Archie Bradley, scoring Alex Bregman, who had doubled in front of cleanup Alvarez.

The Astros added an insurance run in the eighth on a Michael Brantley single that scored Martin Maldonado. Maldonado got to second on an infield single by Jose Altuve.

Altuve injured his leg getting to the first base bag, the nature or extent of the injury is unknown at the time of this writing. But Altuve’s body language and demeanor made it seem like this could be a prolonged injury.

Rafael Montero and Hector Neris closed out the Angels in the eighth and ninth innings respectively, sealing the Astros 8-3 win. Montero was particularly impressive, striking out all three batters he faced.

Luis Garcia got the win and although he allowed three runs in 5.2 IP, he only allowed four hits and a walk while recording seven strikeouts. A two-out, two-run double and Stassi’s just barely homer were big for the Angels, but not big enough on a night when Yordan Alvarez decided to explode.

The Astros send Framber Valdez against Patrick Sandoval tomorrow at Minute Maid Park at 7:10 CT.

Box Score And Videos Here.