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Cristian Javier Silences Angels. Astros Hang On for 5-4 Win

Jeremy Peña’s 2 RBI and 2 hits lead Astros attack

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

In the 1950’s the Milwaukee Braves had a saying about their starting rotation. ”Spahn and Sain and pray for rain”

I don’t know how to make a rhyme out of Valdez and Javier—if you can think of one, add it in the comments— but the situation is pretty much the same. The Astros have two, and only two, excellent starters. And after Valdez’s career game last night, Cristian Javier did his part to be the Astros’ Sain in today’s game.

Before the Angels had to face Javier, the Astros took the lead quickly on a first-inning solo homer by Yordan Alvarez off Angels starter Griffin Channing.

Javier followed that by striking out the side in the bottom of the first.

However, the Angels took the lead on a two-run Hunter Renfroe homer in the third inning.

But the Astros came up big in the fourth. Two singles by Kyle Tucker and Corey Julks gave first baseman Yainier Diaz the opportunity for a sacrifice fly. After a walk to David Hensley, Jake Meyers hit an infield RBi single. Martin Maldonado walked, and Jeremy Peña hit a bases-loaded, two-run single off reliever Jimmy Herget to make the score 5-2 Astros.

The combination of Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier is becoming a rotational dynamic duo for the Astros. A night after Valdez struck out 12 in eight innings, tonight Javier struck out 11 in six innings. He struck out the side twice, and the top three in the Angels lineup, Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, and Shohei Ohtani were 0-9 against Javier with seven Ks. To go with 11 Ks, Javier allowed only one walk and three hits and threw 24 swinging strikes out of 93 total pitches.

After scoreless relief in the seventh and eighth innings by Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu, respectively, Ryan Pressly made the game exciting in the ninth. Mike Trout led off with a hard single off the glove of Alex Bregman. Then Ohtani scooped a slider off the ground deep into the right field seats to bring the Angels to within one. Anthony Rendon then singled, followed by a Renfroe single, and I started re-writing this recap for a losing game.

But Pressly got a strikeout, a pop out, and a groundout, giving him the shaky save and the Astros the series win.

Astros are off tomorrow.

Box score HERE.