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Astros defeat Angels in 11 innings to cap series

Houston Chronicle logo Houston Chronicle 8/3/2020 David Barron

After misfires in their first encounters with Major League Baseball’s new extra innings baserunner rule, the Astros got one back Sunday afternoon to close out a decidedly up-and-down road trip to Angel Stadium.

Framber Valdez kept the Astros in the game with 6.1 standout innings in relief of Josh James, and Houston secured a 6-5 victory in 11 innings on Alex Bregman’s base hit to score George Springer.

Valdez allowed five hits and struck out eight in relief before giving up a run in the 10th. He gave way to rookie Andre Scrubb and then to lefthanded rookie Blake Taylor, who escaped bases-loaded perils in the 10th and 11th to secure the win.

Sunday’s game was the Astros’ third under the interim Major League Baseball rule in which extra innings begin with a runner on second. They lost 4-2 in 13 innings to the Dodgers on July 29 and 5-4 to the Angels in 10 innings Saturday night.

Houston was in position to win because of a second consecutive ninth-inning rally and sterling work from Valdez, who was in line to start a game later this week against the Diamondbacks but was needed in relief Sunday to shore up the Astros’ injury-riddled bullpen.

The teams traded runs in the 10th on a sacrifice fly by Astros catcher Garrett Stubbs and an RBI base hit by the Angels’ Michael Hermosillo. The Astros' 11th began with Springer at second, and Bregman delivered one out later to give Houston the lead.

In the bottom of the 11th with Matt Thaiss starting on second, Taylor retired the first two hitters he faced before an intentional walk to Anthony Rendon and a walk to Hermosillo to load the bases. He got the third out on Brian Goodwin’s fly out to center.

The Astros rallied in the ninth for the second straight night to force extra innings. Michael Brantley doubled to lead off against Ty Buttrey and was lifted for pinch runner Myles Straw. Yuli Gurriel flied out to center, but Josh Reddick followed with a base hit to tie it up.

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