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Valdez strikes out eight in seven innings, Astros limit A’s to two hits in 3-0 victory

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HOUSTON (AP) — Framber Valdez struck out eight in seven strong innings and combined with Seth Martinez for a two-hitter, and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 3-0 on Wednesday for their season-high fourth straight victory.

Valdez (3-1) allowed both hits and walked two. The left-hander recorded 11 groundouts.

“I was throwing strikes, keeping the ball in the zone and trying to control the runners,” Valdez said through an interpreter.

Valdez has yielded two runs or fewer in four of his last five starts. He said he knew it was important to go deep in the game after Houston had to use five relievers Tuesday following Ronel Blanco’s ejection to start the fourth inning after a foreign substance check.

“That was a very strong performance,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “We needed Framber to take us deep in the game, and he did that. That was a really, really good job.”

Martinez earned his first save of the season.

Oakland’s only hits off Valdez were a weak infield single by J.D. Davis in the fourth and Shea Langeliers’ single in the seventh. The A’s have lost four straight.

Oakland manager Mark Kotsay called Valdez’s performance “vintage Framber.”

“He had his best stuff tonight,” Kotsay said. “His changeup, slider, curveball. He was front dooring our righties with the sinker. When he gets in a rhythm, it’s tough. We pulled a lot of balls on the ground.”

The A’s put runners on first and second in the ninth on an error by Alex Bregman and Tyler Soderstrom’s walk, but Langeliers grounded into a double play to end it.

Jose Altuve singled leading off the first, had reached third on Kyle Tucker’s double and scored on a throwing error by Zack Gelof, who was trying to get Tucker at second. Tucker scored on Bregman’s sacrifice fly two batters later.

Mauricio Dubón added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to make it 3-0.

Aaron Brooks (0-1) surrendered three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts in seven innings in his first start since Sept. 13, 2019, when he was with Baltimore. It was his first major league appearance since April 28, 2022.

“He does a great job managing (the game), he throws strikes,” Kotsay said. “He gave us a chance to be in the game.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Athletics: LHP Alex Wood was placed on the 15-day injured list with left rotator cuff tendonitis and LHP Brady Basso was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make room for Brooks on the roster. The A’s also recalled LHP Hogan Harris from Las Vegas. INF Darrell Hernaiz (left ankle) was transferred to the 60-day injured list to clear a spot on the 40-man roster.

Astros: OF Chas McCormick (right hamstring discomfort) went 0 for 4 in a start for Double-A Corpus Christi in his third game of an injury rehabilitation assignment.

UP NEXT

Houston RHP Cristian Javier (2-1, 4.01 ERA) starts Thursday opposite Oakland RHP Joey Estes (1-0, 1.80 ERA) in the finale of the four-game series.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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