Dominican pitcher Framber Valdez stood out this Sunday from the box in the Major Leagues to lead the champion Houston Astros to a 2-0 complete road shutout victory against the Oakland Athletics.
With Valdez’s win, the Astros completed a three-game sweep of Oakland.
Valdez (4-4) struck out seven without a walk in the fifth complete game of his career and first since Sept. 12 at Detroit.
It was the third time Oakland had been shutout in the last 10 games and the seventh overall this season.
The victory extends Houston’s season-long winning streak to seven games, the longest active streak currently in the majors.
– Colombian Market shines –
In St. Louis, Colombian Oscar Mercado drove in five runs and Paul DeJong hit a three-run home run as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-5.
St. Louis has won 11 of the last 14 meetings after a meager 10-24 start to the season.
Mercado, who made his St. Louis debut on Wednesday, went 3 for 4 and tied a career high with five RBIs.
“I’m just having a good time, I can go out there and help win,” Mercado said. “I hope I can keep doing it.”
The Cardinals hammered Los Angeles star pitcher Clayton Kershaw (6-4) for three runs in the second inning.
Mercado capped off that attack with a two-run double that increased the lead to 3-0.
Kershaw allowed four runs and five hits in 3 2/3 innings. He allowed three doubles in the second inning for the first time in his career.
The Colombian also added a two-run single in the fifth as St. Louis won its last four series and scored 10 runs or more for the fourth time since May 7.
For his part, DeJong increased the lead to 10-3 with his seventh home run of the season in the seventh. He also equaled a career high by scoring four runs.
St. Louis third baseman Boricua-Cuban Nolan Arenado had three hits to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, the player’s longest as a member of the Cardinals.
Previously, he had a career-best 15-game streak while playing with the Colorado Rockies in 2019.
Kershaw, a three-time Cy Young pitching Award winner, posted his shortest start of the season. He went 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA in April and was named National League Pitcher of the Month. He has allowed four earned runs in two of his last four starts.
The win went to reliever Drew VerHagen (3-0), who retired seven straight batters after subbing for starter Jack Flaherty with two outs in the fourth.
All-Star Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak with the Dodgers to 11 games with a single in the fifth.