HOUSTON -- Evan Gattis homered twice on his gnome night, Carlos Correa went deep to achieve a club milestone, and the Astros beat the division-rival Angels once again, torching Jered Weaver through the first four innings en route to a 7-2 victory at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night.The Astros
HOUSTON -- Evan Gattis homered twice on his gnome night, Carlos Correa went deep to achieve a club milestone, and the Astros beat the division-rival Angels once again, torching Jered Weaver through the first four innings en route to a 7-2 victory at Minute Maid Park on Saturday night.
The Astros have won 10 consecutive games against the Angels and are a Major League-best 36-16 since May 23.
"I think every team has that one team they struggle against," Astros starter Collin McHugh said. "For whatever reason, we've kind of had their number this year. We've been throwing the ball well against them and our guys have really been swinging the bats."
Gattis put the Astros on the board with two outs in the second, extending his arms on an outside-corner, 79-mph curveball and lofting it over the left-field scoreboard for a three-run homer. Gattis launched his 15th home run of the year to lead off the fourth, socking a 74-mph, down-the-middle changeup a projected distance of 420 feet, according to Statcast™.
Correa then lined a home run to right, his 15th, off long reliever Jhoulys Chacín to lead off the fifth, providing McHugh with more than enough cushion. McHugh gave up two runs in six innings, scattering six hits, walking none and striking out six. Pat Neshek, Ken Giles and Michael Feliz tossed three hitless innings of relief.
Weaver allowed six runs in only four innings.
"Command was not how it had been," Weaver said. "Everything was up. I was kind of erratic. When I made good pitches, good things happened. When I fell behind, I had to come back in with certain pitches and it didn't work out too good."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gnome runs: On the same day the Astros handed out 10,000 Gattis gnomes to fans, the veteran catcher had his best day of the season at the plate. Saturday was Gattis' first game back after missing Friday's contest with a left hand contusion, but you certainly couldn't tell anything had been wrong. It was Gattis' first multi-homer game of the season, the sixth of his career and third with the Astros.
"The big three-run homer at the beginning of the game was a huge hit for us to kick-start what turned out to be a really nice offensive night," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I know [Gattis] takes great pride in being a complete player on both sides of the ball. That comes out every time he catches." More >
The struggle is real: Weaver gave up only two runs in 13 innings in his first two starts of July, but was charged with six runs on seven hits in four innings Saturday. The 33-year-old right-hander has given up 12 runs on 14 hits and seven walks in 9 1/3 innings during his last two starts against the Astros. Dating back to the start of 2014, Weaver has a 6.59 ERA in five starts in Houston.
""It's no secret that I need a big park to pitch my game," Weaver said. "It's been the story of my career, really." More >
That was quick: With the Astros already up 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth, Correa decided to make some history. Correa's dinger to lead off the inning was his 36th as a Houston shortstop, breaking Adam Everett's mark for the most in club history at that position. Correa has only been with the Astros for a little over a year.
"I didn't realize that happened, so congrats to Correa," Hinch said. "Poor Adam Everett. Feel bad for him." More >
Hot Simba:Andrelton Simmons, who batted fifth for the first time all year, laced a double to the opposite field in the second and came up with a two-out RBI single in the sixth. Simmons is batting nearly .400 over his last 25 games, with 36 hits in 92 at-bats. His batting average has increased from .213 to .281 since then.
"He's comfortable," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before the game of his new shortstop. "I think he's getting comfortable with the league, getting comfortable with being in different environments, different stadiums. There's always adjustments, and you never know exactly how they're going to play out. I think the thing with Simba is he's a better hitter than he showed the first month."
"Today was Gatty Day. No doubt. He hits two homers, catches a great game. It's his gnome day. It's Gatty Day, and I couldn't be happier for him." -- McHugh, on Gattis' big day
"Well, they're not the only team that we've lost to. It's been a frustrating season as far as that goes. Obviously you don't want to go down like that to division teams, but I don't really have an answer for you of why." -- Weaver on the Angels' 10-game losing streak against the Astros, their longest against any opponent since dropping 10 in a row to the Red Sox from 1993-94
The Astros' 10th consecutive victory against the Angels is Houston's longest winning streak against an American League team in franchise history. It's also the longest streak against any opponent since 12-game runs against the Phillies and Reds, which both spanned the 2004-05 seasons.
"I don't know what the formula is," McHugh said, "but I hope it can continue."
Angels:Tim Lincecum will make his seventh start of the season at Minute Maid Park on Sunday at 11:10 a.m. PT. The 32-year-old right-hander has struggled in his return from hip surgery, giving up 23 runs (21 earned) on 47 hits and 13 walks in 28 2/3 innings, striking out 28.
Astros: Houston will hand the ball to Mike Fiers (6-4, 4.75 ERA) in its series finale against the Angels at 1:10 p.m. CT. Fiers is looking to rebound from one of his worst outings of the season, in which he surrendered six runs and five hits in only 3 2/3 innings against the A's.
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Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.
Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston.