ANAHEIM -- Andrew Heaney struck out a career-high-tying 10 and held the Astros to one run in eight innings, outdueling Lance McCullers for a 2-1 Angels win on Monday night at Angel Stadium and creating a first-place tie between the clubs in the American League West.Heaney's stellar outing featured few
ANAHEIM -- Andrew Heaney struck out a career-high-tying 10 and held the Astros to one run in eight innings, outdueling Lance McCullers for a 2-1 Angels win on Monday night at Angel Stadium and creating a first-place tie between the clubs in the American League West.
Heaney's stellar outing featured few mistakes and excellent command of his curveball-sinker combination, with a smattering of changeups fit in for good measure. In one at-bat in the eighth inning, the lefty threw five straight curveballs to Josh Reddick, ultimately getting him swinging for strikeout No. 10.
Reddick had roped a leadoff double in the third, when Heaney threw him two straight sinkers, leading to the Astros' only run. He made the adjustment.
"Usually I'm not a guy that throws that many breaking balls, but I think early on we obviously saw -- the double by Redick, it was early in the count, he was looking for a heater -- you don't want to feed that guy that many of those," Heaney said. "Maldy [catcher Martin Maldonado] saw something, and I was feeling it."
After Reddick scored on a Max Stassi single, Heaney was rarely tested. Evan Gattis led off the fifth inning with a double to left field, but Heaney struck out the side to escape the jam. His last sinker of the game, to get Jose Altuve on a flyout to right, was the same velocity as his first, 92.4 mph, to George Springer.
Heaney lowered his ERA to 3.93 in what the 26-year-old lefty said was probably the best start of his career.
"He made his pitches," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I thought he was really executing the game plan that he wanted."
The Angels started their scoring in the second inning, when Andrelton Simmons knocked a one-out single off McCullers, stole second base, then scored when Luis Valbuena promptly hit a single to right field. Simmons has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games and has reached base in his last 21. His .340 batting average is fourth in the AL.
Justin Upton drove in the winning run with a single in the sixth. He has hits in 12 of his last 14 games, going .328 (19-for-58) with a big league-leading 19 RBIs over that span.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Calhoun cuts down Springer: With rookie reliever Justin Anderson nursing a one-run lead, Springer led off the ninth with a single. The next batter, Alex Bregman, lifted a fly ball to right field in foul territory, and Kole Calhoun sprinted to make the catch, lunging into the crowd as he gathered the ball. Springer tried to tag up and advance to second, but Calhoun nailed him with an incredible throw to shortstop Andrelton Simmons for the double play. Calhoun leads the Majors with six outfield assists. No other outfielder has more than four.
"It's not just a good play by Calhoun, it's a great play," Hinch said. "He's diving into the stands or at least leaning into the stands, and he was able to clear himself from the fence enough to make a full throw, which is probably why he leads the league in assists in the outfield. He had to make a perfect throw to get him out, and he did."
Anderson's high-wire act: After Calhoun's play cleared the bases with two out, Anderson faced another jam following an Altuve single and an intentional walk of Carlos Correa, but the rookie was able to induce a groundout out of Yuli Gurriel to pick up his first career save.
Anderson has been entrusted with two save opportunities in the past few days despite making only eight previous appearances in the Majors.
"Shows that [manager Mike Scioscia] trusts me, and that the guys trust me, too," Anderson said. "He's got confidence in me, and I've got confidence in myself that, no matter what, I can get it done. Feels good that someone trusts me like that."
Angels saves leader Keynan Middleton landed on the disabled list for the second time this season on Monday.
The Angels will turn to Jaime Barria (3-1, 2.45 ERA) on Tuesday at 7:07 p.m. PT against the Astros in the second game of a three-game set. It will be the fifth start of his career, and his first against Houston. Barria threw 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Rockies his last time out, allowing five hits and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts. He will face Newport Beach native and former UCLA star Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43), who leads the American League in strikeouts (86) and has the second-lowest ERA in MLB.
Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com based in Anaheim.