Framber Valdez, Houston Astros author “special” tag, batted 20 in win over Los Angeles Angels

HOUSTON — Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout ended a three-game streak 0-11 with nine strikeouts, and Los Angeles hitters fanned out 20 times, tying a major league record, as the Houston Astros 4:2 won Sunday.

Rookie Jeremy Pena hit a homer twice, topped by a two-run drive with two outs in the ninth inning against Ryan Tepera (1-2) to win it.

“It’s unreal to do it on a walkoff,” Pena said. “It’s always fun to walk it, you get the win… and it’s awesome.”

Trout struck out seven times in a row in the first two games. In the Finals, the three-time AL MVP reached base in his first at-bat due to an error by Pena at shortstop before hitting the bull’s eye on his next two plate appearances.

Trout showed up in his final at-bat to extend his runners to 0v14. He’s having another strong season, batting .272 with 23 home runs and 47 RBIs, despite his second long slump of the year — he was the worst 0-for-26 of his career before ending that drought on June 6.

Trout was far from the only Angel struggling at the plate as Houston starter Framber Valdez and three assists tied the major league record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Twelve different Angels batters came on the plate and all batted at least once.

Valdez hit a career-high 13 in six innings and allowed two runs with three hits and five walks. Helpers Hector Neris and Rafael Montero each hit two in scoreless innings and Ryan Pressly (2-2) fanned three in the ninth.

“It’s something that’s very emotional and very exciting for me,” Valdez said through a translator after the game. “It’s very special to be a part of it.”

Astros manager Dusty Baker agreed.

“It’s very impressive. He was throwing strikes,” Baker said, referring to Valdez, and when asked about the total of 20 on the team, he simply replied, “Boy, that’s a lot.”

According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, the 20 strikeouts are the most in a nine-inning game in Astros franchise history. There have been several occasions when other teams have axed 20, including performances by Max Scherzer, Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood. The Astros’ previous record was 18 against Cincinnati in 1964.

Houston Pitchers fanned out 47 in the series against the Angels.

Pena had four hits. In the ninth round, Jose Altuve prevailed with two outs and Pena followed with his 11th home run. Pena hit a solo home run in fourth place ahead of Jose Suarez.

Luis Rengifo scored second for the Angels. Shohei Ohtani hit an RBI single in the third.

Altuve had an RBI single in the fifth that made it a 2-all.

Catching coach Bill Haselman was the Angels acting interim manager on Sunday while Ray Montgomery, who was acting interim manager, and interim manager Phil Nevin were serving their bans for last week’s brawl with the Mariners. Haselman will also referee Tuesday’s game while Montgomery is serving the second game of his suspension.

“They just have a lot of good guns out there,” Haselman said. “They have a lot of good pitchers in the bullpen and just beat us today.”

Sunday was the sixth game of Nevin’s 10-game suspension. His seventh won’t come until Tuesday when Noah Syndergaard (5-6, 3.86 ERA) takes on Sandy Alcantara (8-3, 1.96) in the opener of a three-game series against the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins aren’t traditional opponents to the Angels, so there’s not much history there, but Trout is 0-2 against Miami this season with two walks and two runs scored.

“Mike Trout is a future Hall of Famer. He’ll be around,” Haselman said. “It’s too long a season to never have problems. Everyone’s going through it, even the best in the game. He’s going through it right now and we’re confident he’ll make it through.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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