ANAHEIM -- Andrelton Simmons blasted a three-run, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning as the Angels erased a five-run deficit and rallied for a 7-6 win over the Astros on Saturday night at Angel Stadium, snapping their three-game losing streak.
Down 6-1, the Angels clawed back into the game by scoring two runs in the seventh and then added four more in the eighth to take the lead. Kole Calhoun's two-out RBI single brought the Halos within two before Simmons (aka "Simón" for Players Weekend) hammered the deciding shot to left field off Astros reliever Tyler Clippard.
Richard Parker ("B-Easy") pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the win, pulling the Angels within a half-game of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.
"We've done it a lot of times this year," Simmons said of the Angels' AL-leading 38th comeback win of the season. "It's good that we have that ability to never be out of the game. We grinded it. Tonight was a tough day. We had some tough calls. Guys were really grinding and chipped away, and eventually we got the runs we needed in the game."
• AL Wild Card standings
The Astros scored four runs over the first two innings off Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs and continued to build on their lead following solo home runs from Jake Marisnick ("Big Fudge") in the fourth and George Springer in the seventh.
The Angels, meanwhile, were stymied through the first six innings by Houston right-hander Brad Peacock, who surrendered only a solo shot to Calhoun in the second. Peacock departed after throwing 96 pitches, and the Astros bullpen faltered in his stead, with Francisco Liriano, Francis Martes ("Chanchi") and Clippard combining to give up six runs over the final two innings.
"Just a bad finish to an otherwise pretty good game," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "[The bullpen] has done a really done a good job of putting up zeroes. Each of these guys has thrown very well. Credit them for putting up some pretty tough at-bats against a pretty hot bullpen."
• Astros bullpen struggles late
Calhoun ("Koleman") went 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Angels, while Jose Pujols ("The Machine") picked up the 2,934th and 2,935th hits of his career, tying Barry Bonds for 36th place on the all-time list.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Angels cut the deficit: After Calhoun singled to lead off the seventh, Simmons hit a grounder to third that deflected off the glove of J.D. Davis and trickled into left field for a double, putting runners on second and third with no outs for the Angels. Luis Valbuena and C.J. Cron followed with run-scoring groundouts to bring in a pair of runs and trim the Astros' lead to 6-3.
Simmons caps four-run eighth: Martes opened the eighth by retiring Kaleb Cowart on a groundout and striking out Cameron Maybin looking, but he cracked the door for the Angels by issuing a two-out walk to Michael Trout. Pujols subsequently blooped a single to center, allowing Trout to advance to third. The Astros then brought in Clippard to replace Martes, but Calhoun delivered an RBI single to bring the Angels within two. That brought up Simmons, who launched a first-pitch slider to left field for his 14th home run of the season.
"I knew it was an out or a homer," Simmons said. "By the time I got off the floor, Reddick was already at the wall. I just knew I did my best right there." More >>
"I didn't think the ball was gone. I thought it might've been off the wall. We were playing pretty deep there and as [Reddick] got to the wall quickly and I just didn't know how close it would be, and if he could make a dramatic, great play. He made a pretty great effort, obviously," -- Hinch, on Simmons' go-ahead homer
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With a 1-for-2 night, including a walk, off Skaggs, Reddick upped his average against lefties this season to .321 in 81 at-bats. He entered this year hitting just .218 against lefties through the first eight seasons of his career.
Astros:Charlie Morton will finish out the three-game set at 2:37 p.m. CT on Sunday at Angel Stadium. Morton threw five scoreless innings against the Angels back on April 17 to pick up his first of 10 wins on the year. .
Angels: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco (6-12, 5.05 ERA) takes the mound for the Angels in Sunday's series finale against the Astros at 12:37 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Nolasco is 7-2 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 career games against Houston.
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