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Apr 28, 2024 9:07 am

Framber Valdez returns as Astros seek Mexico City sweep of Rockies

framber valdez

The Colorado Rockies became the first team to play a regular-season game in three different countries within the same month. They’re also the first team to lose games in three countries.

Colorado dropped the first game of the Mexico City Series to the Houston Astros, 12-4, on Saturday to continue its rough start to the season. The Rockies will try to earn a split of the international series when Austin Gomber (0-1, 4.32 ERA) faces Houston’s Framber Valdez (0-0, 2.19) on Sunday.

Colorado has played — and lost — games in the U.S., Canada and now Mexico in April. It has yet to win consecutive games this season but got off to a good start Saturday when Ryan McMahon hit a two-run homer in the first inning.

“That was Mac’s best swing of the season,” manager Bud Black said.

The lead evaporated and with it the Rockies’ hope of putting together a winning streak. They’ll look to Gomber, who has yet to get a win in any of his five starts.

He has faced the Astros twice in his career, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA.

The Mexico City Series is special to several players, including Rockies infielder Alan Trejo. He was born in Los Angeles but his roots are in Mexico. He embraces his heritage, including playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

“I wasn’t born in Mexico, but culturally I’m Mexican,” he said. “My parents grew up in Mexico. It’s a beautiful thing to be welcomed by the community. When I was down there playing winter ball, I felt like a native and they treated me as a native. That speaks volumes about the culture in Mexico, and my parents — they raised me the right way.”

Trejo pinch hit in Saturday’s game and could be in there to face Valdez, who is expected to be activated from the injured list to make his first start since April 2. He was placed on the IL on April 9 — retroactive to April 6 — with inflammation in his left elbow but is ready to take the mound on Sunday.

Valdez has pitched well in his seven career games — six starts — against Colorado, going 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA.

Houston hopes Valdez can pitch well enough to sweep the Mexico City Series and start to turn around the season. The Astros had lost five straight and eight of nine before winning Saturday and are in last place in the American League West, an unusual position for a team that has advanced to seven consecutive AL Championship Series.

Houston’s early struggles are foreign to the team but the players haven’t lost confidence.

“We know we have a good team and these guys in here would never, ever give up on one another,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “We never ever would just fold. We’re going to fight, and that’s what this team is made of.”

They fought Saturday and have a chance to head home for six games against the Cleveland Guardians and Seattle Mariners with some momentum.

–Field Level Media

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