HOUSTON -- Matthew Shoemaker held baseball's hottest offense in check for seven innings and was backed by a 13-hit attack as the Angels rolled to a 9-4 win over the first-place Astros on Friday night in the series opener at Minute Maid Park.The Astros, who averaged 8.5 runs per game
HOUSTON -- Matthew Shoemaker held baseball's hottest offense in check for seven innings and was backed by a 13-hit attack as the Angels rolled to a 9-4 win over the first-place Astros on Friday night in the series opener at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros, who averaged 8.5 runs per game on their road trip that ended on Thursday, and had scored at least five runs in 12 consecutive games, were held to seven hits and four runs by Shoemaker (6-3). Astros third baseman Alex Bregman tagged Shoemaker for a two-run homer in the seventh to cut the lead to 8-4 and extend Houston's streak of consecutive games with a homer to 17, one shy of the club record.
"It went pretty well," Shoemaker said of his outing. "[Catcher Martin Maldonado] was great back there. We executed a lot of our pitches. … I did make one mistake in the seventh and paid for it. But the defense made some great plays behind us. The offense was great, it picked us up. Great team win."
Kole Calhoun drove in three runs and Cameron Maybin, who was activated from the disabled list and plugged into the starting lineup, had three hits, four runs and stole a career-high four bases -- matching a franchise record -- as the Angels pounced on Astros starter Brad Peacock (3-1) for four runs and seven hits in three innings.
The Astros called on Francis Martes, ranked as the club's No. 1 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, to make his MLB debut and help out a weary bullpen. Martes logged 78 pitches from the fifth until the eighth inning, struck out two, walked two, and allowed four hits and four earned runs.
"It was not our night on the mound," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had close to eight or nine free bases in some capacity, and it felt like they had somebody on base for every inning. They put a lot of pressure on us. We didn't execute the pitches we needed to and they took advantage of it. They had traffic all the time. They came up with some big hits. There was never really a comfortable inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Kole driven: After managing to score just one run in the first despite three hits and three walks off Peacock, the Angels were more opportunistic in the second. Calhoun's two-run single scored Danny Espinosa and Maybin for a 3-0 lead. Jose Pujols grounded into a double play immediately following Calhoun's at-bat.
Caught off guard: The Astros rallied against Shoemaker in the second, loading the bases after one-out singles by Brian McCann and Marwin Gonzalez, and a walk to Bregman. McCann scored on Norichika Aoki's grounder, but the Astros ran themselves out of the inning. Jake Marisnick followed with an infield RBI single to shortstop Andrelton Simmons, but Bregman made the final out when he overran third base.
"In a game like this it doesn't feel very good, because we were getting our way back into that game," Hinch said. "It looked like [Bregman] was late picking up [third-base coach] Gary [Pettis]. Gary was holding him. From every angle, outside of Bregman, who was running away from the ball, you could see that Simmons was going to make the play. He's trying to get a good break with two outs and take a good turn. … When you're behind and working your way back, it was a bad mistake."
"I wish he would have spent one more day on the DL, to be honest." -- Hinch, on Maybin
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the second, the Angels challenged Peacock's pickoff of Eric Young at second base for the first out of the inning, but the call was ruled to stand.
Angels: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (2-6, 5.05 ERA) will take the mound on Saturday in the middle game of the series at 1:10 p.m. PT. Nolasco is 7-1 with a 3.75 ERA in 10 career starts against the Astros.
Astros: Right-hander Mike Fiers (3-2, 4.84) will get the ball on Saturday at 3:10 p.m. CT against the Angels at Minute Maid Park. Fiers won his previous two starts, allowing four earned runs -- and no home runs -- in 11 innings. He allowed 18 homers in his first nine starts.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.