ANAHEIM -- Even with Mike Trout out with a strained right calf and fellow All-Star Tommy La Stella out until September with a broken left tibia, the Angels’ offense just keeps on rolling.
The Angels scored at least six runs for a sixth straight game, keyed by a six-run first inning in a 7-2 win over the Astros on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. It marked the fifth straight win for the Angels coming out of the All-Star break, as they reached the 50-win mark at 50-46.
Last year, the Angels didn't reach their 50th win until their 100th game en route to an 80-win season. It’s also their longest streak of scoring at least six runs since Aug. 29-Sept. 5, 2017, when they scored six-plus in seven consecutive games.
“It’s actually been really productive. It’s given us some cushion in games,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Today was another example of that. I think the offense is the biggest piece of that puzzle [in the win streak].”
The Angels jumped all over Hector Rondon, who served as the Astros’ opener, as the right-hander gave up six runs on five hits while recording just two outs.
Shohei Ohtani, on his bobblehead night, brought home the game's first run with an RBI single. After Kole Calhoun was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Albert Pujols cleared them with a three-run double to right, giving him three RBIs for the second straight night. Luis Rengifo scored Pujols with an RBI triple.
“Obviously we missed Trout the last couple games, because he's pretty much been carrying us all year long, but we've been having good at-bats,” Pujols said. “We've been doing that for the last couple weeks. We took that four-day break and picked up pretty much right where we left off with our offense.”
Pujols also got involved in a situation with the benches and bullpens clearing in the sixth, after reliever Noe Ramirez hit Jake Marisnick in the outfielder's first matchup vs. the Angels since he collided into Jonathan Lucroy at home plate in Houston on July 7, giving the catcher a concussion and a fractured nose that required surgery and will keep him out roughly three weeks.
Marisnick took first without incident, but Pujols took exception with something said in the Astros’ dugout. The Angels star shouted and stalked into foul territory. The benches cleared, but there were no physical altercations or ejections.
Pujols declined to comment on the situation after the game, while Ausmus and Ramirez both maintained that the plunking was unintentional.
“They’re a good team, so I wasn’t trying to give them any sort of chance,” said Ramirez, who threw two sliders and had a 1-1 count on Marisnick. “They get a baserunner on, they’re a pretty good team. They get a rally going pretty good. That’s the last thing I was trying to do.”
The offense backed lefty starter Andrew Heaney, but he couldn't get through five innings and was stuck with a no-decision. He gave up two runs on eight hits and two walks over 4 1/3 innings. He was inefficient, as he threw 103 pitches. Both runs he surrendered came on RBI singles from Tyler White.
"They're a good team, obviously,” Heaney said. “They're pesky, one through nine. Facing a team for the second time back to back, they're making adjustments. I'm trying to readjust. They definitely did a good job of getting to me. Luckily, I was able to keep the big one off and kind of keep that lead safe."
After Heaney departed, Ramirez combined with fellow relievers Justin Anderson and Trevor Cahill to throw 4 2/3 scoreless frames. Cahill threw the final 2 2/3 innings to help save the bullpen, which had both Ty Buttrey and Taylor Cole unavailable.
“That's really our goal, to hand them a lead, because they've been awesome all year when we give them a lead,” Heaney said. “As starters, we've not been going deep and we've had our struggles. But we're trying to right the ship and trying to get those guys a lead and let them take it home."