The rookie is still doing wonderful things for his club. Not only did shortstop Jeremy Peña have the first multi-homer game of his career, but he also walk-off the Angels with a moonshot over Mike Trout’s head to defeat and sweep the Halos 4-2 on Sunday afternoon. Peña and starter Framber Valdez were the key men for the Astros’ sixth consecutive win.
Peña, who also set a new career-high for hits with four, went 4-for-5 with three runs batted in and two runs scored. In a game the Astros began down in the score 0-2, Peña began his power showing with an opposite-field long ball against José Suárez for his 10th of the season…
Home run number 10 for the rookie. pic.twitter.com/beKyYOjIcq— Houston Astros (@astros) July 3, 2022
Then, with the game tied at two runs and José Altuve aboard, he did not waste any time against reliever Ryan Tepera and sent the ball 429 feet over the center-field fence to bring 36.048 fans to their feet at Minute Maid Park. This was the Astros’ second walk-off home run this season – both of them belong to Peña.
JEREMY PEÑA WITH A WALK OFF HOME RUN TO DEAD CENTER FIELD!!— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) July 3, 2022
According to Statcast, Peña’s ninth-inning shot would have been a home run in every Major League ballpark, except Comerica Park (Tigers).
With these two four-baggers, the 24-year-old becomes the second Astros rookie with two home runs in a game, including one to end the game. The other to do it was Luke Scott, on September 23, 2006.
Along with Peña, Altuve was the other offense’s big man today, after getting three hits (3-for-5) for the second game in a row and driving in the Astros’ tying run (5-5) in the fifth.
Tuve ties it! pic.twitter.com/VkUsfI2Ovg— Houston Astros (@astros) July 3, 2022
On the pitching side, Framber Valdez was on a high note again and pitched his 13th straight quality start, the longest streak of his career and the fourth-longest in Astros history tied with Dallas Keuchel (2014-2015) and Wandy Rodríguez (2010). Valdez also set a new career-high for him in strikeouts, punching out 13 hitters.
In what was an incredible feat, Valdez got 12 outs via strikeout from the first inning to the fifth. According to Brian McTaggart, that’s a franchise record. Valdez just keeps doing special stuff for this team...
The 12 consecutive outs via strikeout by Valdez is a franchise record. Previous was 9, which happened four times by three pitchers -- Gerrit Cole twice, Randy Johnson and Don Wilson.— Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) July 3, 2022
Despite struggling with his control and walking five opponents, the lefty pitched six strong innings of three hits and two earned runs to lower his ERA to 2.67. He allowed an early homer to Luis Rengifo. In addition, Framber got to triple digits in innings as he finished his performance with 101 in 2022. The Astros should take an eye on that as the 134 2/3 innings he threw last year are the most for Valdez in his career.
After the southpaw was out, Héctor Neris, Rafael Montero, and closer Ryan Pressly took things over and combined for a perfect final third of the game with seven strikeouts.
Speaking of strikeouts, the Angels struck out 20 times on Sunday to tie the MLB record for most K’s in a nine-inning game. It’s the eighth time since 1901 that this has happened.