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Astros strike down Angels on Jeremy Pena’s 2 HRs

Sportsnaut
Jul 3, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Framber Valdez (59) delivers a pitch during the third inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Pena clubbed a walk-off home run with two outs in the ninth inning, his second homer of the game, as the Houston Astros completed a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 4-2 victory on Sunday.

Pena drilled a first-pitch slider from Angels reliever Ryan Tepera (1-2) to straightaway center field, scoring Jose Altuve, who singled after Tepera retired the first two batters of the ninth. Pena smacked his 11th home run and recorded his first career multi-homer game.

Astros closer Ryan Pressly (2-2) struck out the side in the top of the ninth to help set a franchise record for Houston. Four Astros pitchers combined for 20 strikeouts, the most in club history for a nine-inning game. Astros starter Framber Valdez struck out a career-high 13 in six innings.

The Angels tied the major league record for most strikeouts, becoming the eighth team to strike out 20 times in a nine-inning game.

Valdez initiated a historic stretch with his strikeout of Taylor Ward to conclude the first inning. Ward was the first of 12 consecutive outs recorded via strikeout for Valdez, who endured significant traffic on the bases while setting a franchise record for successive outs via the strikeout. The old mark was nine, done four times previously, including twice by Gerrit Cole.

Valdez struck out the side in the second inning but not until he allowed a leadoff, opposite-field home run to Angels second baseman Luis Rengifo.

The Angels doubled their lead to 2-0 in the third when Shohei Ohtani delivered an opposite-field single that beat the shift and scored Monte Harrison, who walked to open the frame and advanced to second when Jonathan Villar walked.

The Angels loaded the bases with one out against Valdez in the third, but Valdez rallied with strikeouts of Rengifo and Michael Stefanic to snuff the threat. He struck out the side after issuing a leadoff walk to Max Stassi in the fourth and fanned the first two batters of the fifth, Mike Trout and Ohtani, before Ward singled and was erased after overrunning first base to end the inning.

Angels left-hander Jose Suarez retired the first nine batters he faced before the Astros got to him in the fourth. Suarez benefitted from a baserunning miscue by Altuve, who attempted to stretch a leadoff single and was subsequently erased at second base.

Pena followed with a home run, his 10th, the opposite way to right to slice the deficit to 2-1. Suarez then sidestepped a Yordan Alvarez double and preserved his lead in the fourth but surrendered the advantage in the fifth when Altuve scored Chas McCormick with an RBI single.

Suarez allowed two runs on four hits with four strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings

–Field Level Media