Jose Altuve leaves the game vs. Angels after being hit by the pitch

ANAHEIM – The Astros were not looking for another setback for their lineup on Thursday. Those plans went wrong almost immediately.

The game’s first pitch from Angels left’s Reid Detmers hit Jose Altuve on the left knee, sending Altuve in visible pain. He remained in the game at half-time, but was replaced at second base at the bottom of the frame by Mauricio Dubón.

Already minus Yordan Alvarez (a problem with the right hand) and Michael Brantley (discomfort in the shoulder), showed the effects of their absence on the plate. After pushing across a couple of runs in the first, the Astros’ bats remained silent on the plate until Jeremy Peña’s 10th inning tie-breaking single sealed a series victory against the Angels.

Ryan Pressly hit two pointless innings to retain the 3-2 victory, greatly aided by Dubón’s dive catch on a Max Stassi soft liner to second out of 10. Despite the recent plethora of injuries, Houston has won 22 of its last 29 and went 4-2 on road trip.

“It was hard fought,” manager Dusty Baker said. “We take it.”

The All-Star break could not come fast enough for these Astros, especially since three of their main batsmen were sick. Altuve, who went into the night hitting .350 / .471 / .600 with six extra-base hits in 11 games in July, was diagnosed with a left knee contusion and is considered day-to-day. Baker said he planned to rest Altuve regardless, along with other veterans, at home Friday against Oakland.

“He’s going to be sore,” Baker said. “[The pitch] hit him close to the bone on the side of the knee. I just hope he’s okay on Saturday and Sunday. “

Baker commented before the fight on the hot temperature in Southern California, calling it “striking weather.” When Altuve arrived and Peña pulled a turn to open the game, it looked like the Astros were confirming their manager’s words. Alex Bregman swung on Detmers’ first bid and singled to the left field to load the bases before Kyle Tucker brought in a run with an opposite field hit.

Houston had the opportunity to put the Angels in a deeper hole, but a popout, a run-scoring field player’s choice and a foul communication on signs led to an inning-end out on basepaths and an unsatisfactory 2-0 lead. It took until the sixth for the Astros to place another runner in scoring position.

Korey Lee, who replaced Martín Maldonado as the autopilot to start on the 10th, advanced to third base on a deep flying ball by Dubón and scored on Peñas single the other way.

“You will be ready for the situation,” Peña said. “I was ready to put something in the air and run in.”

“He plays far beyond his experience and his age,” Baker said. “The situation did not bother him or became too big for him.”

With his first start since being named All-Star by his manager, left-hander Framber Valdez showed why, delivering an AL-leading 16th quality start of his 18 outings this season, as well as his 15th in a row. He went six innings to protect an understaffed bullpen, and he recovered from a high number of early pitches and a bout of savagery.

A 31-pitch third inning included one for Luis Rengifo, who completely avoided Maldonado’s glove and went straight towards the back net. Rengifo took a step back and Jo Adell was hit in the foot to strain the bases before Valdez left Jonathan Villar to climb the Angels’ first run. The next inning singled Stassi and reached number two on a Dubón error, was sacrificed to third and scored on a ball passed to Shohei Ohtani.

But Valdez was effective after that and collected his last six outs in just 14 places. He finished his fantastic first half with a 2.66 ERA over 115 innings.

The short-staffed bullpen, starting with Héctor Neris followed by Rafael Montero and Pressly, hit seven over four innings. The only two allowed hits came against Neris.

Pressly, who has exhausted 24 strokes in a row returning to a blown save against the Yankees on June 23, continued his latest run of brilliance, a quick ninth inning that gave Baker the opportunity to get him inside to close in the 10.

“What helped was that [his] The pitch was low, “Baker said,” allowing him to back out on the 10th, and then we performed correctly [on offense]. “

A strikeout by Jared Walsh was followed by Dubón’s chin, which left Stassis’ bat at 59.8 mph. A delivered ball was of little importance as Brandon Marsh went down and swung to ensure the Astros would not lose back-to-back matches, something they have not done since June 10-11 against the Marlins.

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