Castro, Keuchel carry Astros past Halos

May 29th, 2016

ANAHEIM -- Jason Castro's two-run blast in the sixth inning led the Houston Astros past the Angels, 4-2, at Angel Stadium on Saturday night to earn the team's fourth win in the last five games.

Houston left-hander Dallas Keuchel overcame back-to-back first-inning home runs from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to dominate the Angels, allowing just one more hit over seven innings, striking out five and retiring 18 in a row following Johnny Giavotella's single to lead off the second inning. Keuchel was replaced by Pat Neshek and the bullpen pitched two perfect innings, capped off with closer Luke Gregerson getting Trout to ground out to earn his 11th save.

"He had trouble finishing at-bats the first time through, giving up three two-strike hits," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "After that, he settled in, pounded the strike zone, and finished hitters."

Angels right-hander Jered Weaver meandered in and out of trouble, giving up four runs on six hits over six innings, with his fastball being clocked as high as 86 mph. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he thought Weaver pitched well until he was unable to avoid trouble in the sixth inning.

"That hit by pitch to [Evan] Gattis, that's uncharacteristic of Jered," Scioscia said. "He got the double-play ball, and he couldn't get Castro. He missed his spot on a fastball, and he knocked it out of the park."


The Castro Connection: Castro broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth with a two-out, two-run home run to center field off a 1-2 Weaver fastball. Castro's third career homer off Weaver in 23 at-bats was projected at 433 feet away, according to Statcast™.

"Earlier in the game, he threw me a front-door sinker that I took for a strike," Castro said. "[In the sixth], I just kind of had a feeling he'd come in with a front-door sinker like that again. He kind of left it out over the middle a little bit."

Back-to-back: Trout and Pujols were quick to supply the power at Angel Stadium, launching back-to-back blasts off of Keuchel in the first inning. Trout became just one of eight players all-time to record 150 career home runs and 500 runs before his age-25 season, and Pujols moved within two homers of 11th place all-time with his 571st career blast. More >

"It's pretty cool," Trout said of the accomplishment. "Obviously, I'm not trying to hit homers. Just putting good swings on the ball and see what happens."

Gettin' in the groove: After allowing a Giavotella leadoff single in the second, Keuchel retired the next 18 Angels in order -- seven on ground balls, and five via strikeouts -- before he was relieved by Neshek to start the eighth. Keuchel picked up his first win since April 15, snapping a five-game losing streak. More >

"[Keuchel] really only threw two bad pitches all night," his catcher, Castro, said. "After that, he was back to the old Dallas."

Can't Weave: Weaver fell down early after giving up a leadoff double to George Springer to open the ballgame, but was quickly picked up by a couple runs of support in the first inning. From there, he battled trouble just about all night. He gave up the tying run, but looked like he could get out of the sixth inning cleanly in a 2-2 game before giving up the homer to Castro.



Saturday marked the 27th game in which Trout and Pujols have both homered. Garret Anderson and Tim Salmon are the only duo in Angels history to do so more often, accomplishing the feat 28 times.


"I don't have a fastball anymore, apparently, according to what everybody says. I'm just going out there and trying to pitch." -- Weaver, on his velocity Saturday night


Astros: Right-hander Doug Fister (4-3, 4.12) will be on the mound at 2:35 p.m. CT Sunday as the Astros wrap up their three-game series at Angel Stadium. Fister is 2-3 with a 2.89 ERA in nine career starts vs. the Angels. He had a streak of consecutive quality starts ended at six in his last start -- by one-third of an inning.

Angels: Right-hander Nick Tropeano (3-2, 2.86 ERA) takes the mound for the series finale against the Astros. He has now gone at least six innings in back-to-back starts after failing to do so in his first seven starts this season. First pitch is scheduled for 12:35 p.m. PT.

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