Yainer Diaz homers in his 4th straight game, Framber Valdez throws a 4-hitter, Astros top Halos 7-1


ANAHEIM, Calif. — Yainer Diaz homered in his fourth consecutive game and drove in three runs, and Framber Valdez pitched a four-hitter in the Houston Astros’ 7-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

Yordan Alvarez hit a tiebreaking three-run double in the five-run seventh inning by the Astros, who opened a weekend series at the Big A with their fifth win in eight games.

Valdez (5-3) struck out eight in his seventh complete game and his first since his no-hitter last August. Valdez frequently dominates the Angels, including three career outings with at least 12 strikeouts along with five victories in eight career starts at Angel Stadium.

Valdez dedicated his performance to teammate Cristian Javier, who had Tommy John surgery this week and won’t return to the mound until late next season at the earliest.

“It’s one of those games for your record, for yourself, for your future, is really good,” Valdez said through an interpreter. “I spoke to Cristian earlier today, and I told him, ‘I’m going to throw a really good game today, because we need it.'”

Valdez didn’t walk a batter until Taylor Ward drew a walk with two outs in the ninth. Manager Joe Espada decided to allow Valdez to face only one more hitter, and shortstop Jeremy Peña made a diving catch on Kevin Pillar’s line drive for the final out.

Diaz connected for a two-run shot moments after Alvarez put Houston ahead, giving him nine RBIs in the past four games. Diaz homered in every game of the Astros’ series against St. Louis earlier this week, and his blast to left off the Angels’ Hunter Strickland was his seventh of the season.

“When you put in the effort and you get really focused, the results come in ways you’re not even expecting,” Diaz said through an interpreter.

Before this week’s power surge, Diaz had just one homer in his previous 51 games, and none in 39 games since April 11. He hit 23 homers last season in his first full big league campaign.

“There might have been a little anxiety there, doing a little too much to try to help the team,” Diaz said. “Now I’m being more of the player that I really am. Just trying to be calm and knowing what I can do.”

José Abreu also homered in the eighth for Houston.

Pillar homered for the Angels, whose three-game winning streak ended just short of matching their longest run of the season.

“We faced one of the best pitchers in the game, and he had to be at his best against us, and he was,” Angels manager Ron Washington said.

Griffin Canning (2-6) allowed three runs on seven hits while pitching into the seventh inning.

Houston only got two runners past first base in the first six innings, but Trey Cabbage and José Altuve singled to chase Canning in the seventh. Alvarez then put a long double in the gap off Strickland moments after Alex Bregman drew a walk with help from what appeared to be a missed Strike 3 call by home plate umpire Jonathan Parra.

“I thought it was down the middle, but what can you do about it?” Washington said. “It might have made a difference. Get him out there, we probably could pitch around Alvarez. But it didn’t happen. … We still had an opportunity to get out of that inning without giving up five.”

Pillar tied it on the first pitch of the second inning, blasting it 411 feet for his seventh homer of the season and his sixth in 24 games with the Angels.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: OF Kyle Tucker went on the 10-day injured list with a bruised right shin after fouling a ball off his leg Monday against St. Louis. The move is retroactive to Tuesday. … Javier and fellow starter Jose Urquidy both had Tommy John surgery earlier this week, the team disclosed.

Angels: Anthony Rendon took grounders at third base pregame in his gradual return to baseball activities. The $245 million third baseman has been out since April 20 with a hamstring injury.

UP NEXT

Los Angeles’ Tyler Anderson (5-5, 2.37) has allowed exactly one run in each of his past four starts, posting a 1.35 ERA. He faces Hunter Brown (1-5, 6.18), who pitched six solid innings in a 2-1 loss to the Angels last month.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB



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