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ICYMI: Astros’ pitching is just too much for Angels, Houston wins opener 4-2

From Lance McCullers Jr. to Rafael Montero, it was a solid performance by the Astros’ pitchers.

Houston Astros v Los Angeles Angels Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

On Friday night, the Astros’ pitching proved once again to be on top form as Houston defeated the Angels with a 4-2 score, making most Anaheim hitters look harmless. From starter Lance McCullers Jr. to interim closer Rafael Montero, it was another solid performance. Plus, Astros’ #3 prospect Yainer Díaz made his MLB debut and recorded his first career RBI.

McCullers Jr. outdueled lefty Reid Detmers –who threw the only solo no-hitter of 2022 so far on May 10— going 5 2/3 innings of six hits, two earned runs, four walks, and seven strikeouts. McCullers got in a few jams, but he always found the right pitch to leave a bunch of runners stranded – the Angels went 1-for-9 with RISP and left 10 men on base.

The soon-to-be 29-year-old picked up his second win of the year (2-1) and got his ERA to 2.08. Since 2021, Lance carries a 2.65 ERA against the Angels in six starts (37.1 IP, 23 hits).

In the third inning, the Astros’ offense got things going. After a Chas McCormick double and a José Altuve single, Jeremy Peña knocked his 17th double of the season off the second pitch by Detmers to drive in the game’s first run. Just seconds later, and against Detmers’ first offering, Alex Bregman hit a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

Then, in the fifth, patience paid off for Houston. Altuve kicked off the inning with a walk, Peña struck out swinging, and Bregman grabbed another free pass. Tucker singled to load the bases and, with Detmers out, reliever José Marte walked Yuli Gurriel (3-0), struck out Trey Mancini, and gave a four-pitch walk to Yainer Díaz for the first RBI of his career (4-0).

The Angels had something going in the sixth and they scored twice thanks to a double from Matt Duffy and a sac fly from Matt Thais. But Phil Maton came out of the ‘pen to record the final out of the inning. The night of the bullpen had begun.

Héctor Neris got out of a two-out jam by punching out Mike Ford. His performance featured a three-pitch strikeout to Shohei Ohtani…

Then, Bryan Abreu made his 15th consecutive scoreless appearance and recorded two Ks to end the eighth and leave the table served for Rafael Montero, who got the final two outs by fanning Mike Trout and Ohtani. Montero, in Ryan Pressly’s absence, got his 11th save of 2022.

Luis García is set to face Ohtani –the pitcher— on Saturday during the second game of the series. Should be an exciting one. The game starts at 8:07 pm CT.