While Thursday night marked the official start of Houston Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena’s career in Major League Baseball, Friday night will likely be the one he will remember best, as the 24-year-old collected his first three hits and a home run in the 13-6 rout of the Los Angeles Angels.
He landed his first hit in the top of the second inning, but the highlight of his performance came as Pena was at bat in the seventh – as Apple TV reporters interviewed his parents on live TV – when he crashed a home run over 420 to deep left field.
The moment sent her parents into a frenzy, who told Apple TV’s Heidi Watney they were “very, very happy.”
That home run also started a seventh-inning run offense from Houston, which scored eight runs on the back of eight hits, two of which were long balls.
With rookie Reid Detmers on the mound for the Halos, things got off to a pretty good start, despite allowing an Astros first home run Jose Altuve, but a high pitch count sent him out after just four innings. He finished the contest allowing just four hits and two runs, striking out three, and walking two.
The Angels responded to Altuve’s dinger with their own pair of runs that scored on a Jared Walsh single, and a fly ball passed by Astros receiver Martin Maldonado, who scored Anthony Rendon from third to put the Halos ahead. 2-1. Their rally was cut short two batters later despite a single off the bat from Brandon Marsh, when left fielder Michael Brantley blasted a laser at home plate to catch Jared Walsh before he could score in the third inning of the Halos game.
But they won’t score again until the eighth inning, leaving the vast majority of offensive production to the Astros who had 14 hits in the game.
Outside of the Altuve and Pena circuits, Aledmys Diaz, Kyle Tucker and Alex Bregman all added their own four sacks. Tucker added another homer in the top of the ninth, a solo shot for his second of the game. Bregman also homered in the Astros’ opening day win last night.
Houston starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi also went four innings, giving up two runs and striking out two.
The Angels came back a bit in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs to make it 12-5, thanks in large part to an RBI double off the bat from Jose Rojas and an RBI single from Tyler Wade.
They added one more in the bottom of the ninth when Jared Walsh scored his second RBI of the night on a single to center field, scoring Jack Mayfield from second.
But, it was too little too late as they fell 0-2 to start the young season.
Shohei Ohtani landed his first hit of the season in the first inning, a soft blooper into center field.
Each Angels pitcher allowed multiple runs in the contest, sending the bullpen ERA skyrocketing. Oliver Ortega (9.00 ERA), who suffered the loss after allowing Diaz’s home run in the fourth inning allowed two, Mike Mayers (INF ERA) failed to come out, allowing three runs on two hits, Jimmy Herget (108.00 ERA) allowed four runs on four hits and Jaime Barria (6.75 ERA) allowed two runs on three hits.
The Astros got a full performance from center fielder Jose Siri, who robbed Brandon Marsh of a fifth-inning hit on a great diving catch minutes before picking, stealing second, advancing to third on a fly ball from Maldonado and score while displaying lightning speed. – cover the 90 feet in what seemed like no time, advancing as soon as Anthony Rendon threw a pitch to first after lining up an Altuve floor.
According to MLB Statcast, Siri was averaging 31.2 feet per second while sprinting home.
Both teams will continue their streak Saturday afternoon when newcomer Noah Syndergaard makes his Angels debut against future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander at 6:07 p.m.