• Brian L. Barefield

Making Up For Lost Time Astros go extra innings to close out the series against the Angels.

Anaheim, Calif.- Have you ever heard of the phrase, “Making up for lost time?” It seems like it is becoming the mantra for the 2020 MLB season for the Houston Astros after an over three-month layoff due the COVID-19. On Sunday, Houston (5-4) defeated the Los Angeles Angels (3-7) by a score of 6-5 in extra innings to win the series 2-1. The game was the Astros third extra inning game out of the last four played.

“My team is always big on getaway days,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker. “Getaway days either prevents a sweep, creates a sweep, or wins the series. These guys battled and battled, and it was a good game.”

Astros rookie Blake Taylor (1-0) earned his first Major League win over the Angels, a team he grew up watching being an Orange County native.

"Angel Stadium will have a special place in my heart. So many childhood memories, but now (one) from my adult life. Hopefully I have a long career and play many teams here," said Taylor.

It was his ability to escape two bases loaded jams that allowed the Astros to come away with the victory. He struck out Matt Thaiss in the 10th inning with all the bases being occupied and in the bottom of the 11th inning he got Brian Goodwin to fly out with the bases loaded to end the game.

Taylor, 24, has become one of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for Dusty Baker and has been very effective in five outings in nine games played this season.

“I’m feeling good,” Taylor said when asked about his usage rate so far this season. “As I go along, I pick from other players routine. You have to find a routine in which your body will recover every day because at the end of the day you want to win ball games.”

Angels pitcher Shohei Ohtani will have to find a better routine than the one he had on Sunday. After being away from the mound for over two years due to Tommy John surgery, Ohtani only lasted 1.2 innings after his second start of the season giving up a season-high five walks. Command has been the one thing he has struggled with leading up to the beginning of this season as he gave up eight walks in an intrasquad scrimmage.

Alex Bregman had a big day at the plate for Houston. He blasted a solo shot to center field to bring the Astros to within one run in the top of the seventh inning and drove in what eventually became the game winning run in the top of the 11th inning. Bregman has been struggling early this season at the plate but was very happy after the game to help the team get the win.

“I took some BP (Batting Practice) before the game and was able to get some good swings in there,” said Bregman. “To come away with a win here in extra innings and win the series is great for our team.”

The shining star and hero for Houston in the closeout game of the three-game series was their left-hand sensation out of the bullpen, Framber Valdez. He came in the game in the fourth inning and pitched 6 1/3 innings giving up one run on five hits. The Angels are one of the teams Valdez has dominated during his career. In a 6-2 win over the Angels he had a career high nine strikeouts during the 2018 season and in 2019 he had eight strikeouts in a 11-2 victory. In both outings he went at least six innings.

“I was ready to go five or six innings today and give my best,” Valdez said when asked about how many innings was, he expected to be used on Sunday.

The Astros will take on the Arizona Diamondbacks for the three games in Arizona starting on Tuesday.

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