Astros rally vs. Angels to snap losing streak
ANAHEIM -- Trailing by two in the top of the ninth on Thursday night, the Astros rallied, getting four singles off Angels closer Huston Street before Jose Altuve beat out a potential inning-ending double play on an RBI fielder's choice for a 3-2, come-from-behind win at Angel Stadium.
MIke Trout put the Angels on the board with a first-inning homer to straightaway center field -- his second in as many days -- and Kole Calhoun made it a two-run game on an RBI single off fellow lefty Joe Thatcher in the eighth. But the Astros came to life in the ninth against Street, who has blown back-to-back saves for the first time since 2008.
"You never draw it up like that going into the game, but great win for us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We got quality at-bats at the end against their closer, which is hard to do. Those singles add up, especially when you're trying to get back into it. Great night for this team. Collin McHugh threw great and we hung in there until the very end and pulled it out."
Colby Rasmus and Chris Carter started the ninth with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Jake Marisnick hit an RBI single to left and Preston Tucker -- making his Major League debut -- followed with an RBI single to right to make it 2-2. After Jonathan Villar walked, Altuve hit a slow roller for a forceout at second, but he beat the turn by shortstop Erick Aybar to give the Astros their first lead.
Luke Gregerson picked up his seventh save in the bottom half, snapping the Astros' three-game losing streak to put them at 19-10. The Angels moved to 13-16.
"We had the lead at the end and didn't hold it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That stings a little bit. We know what we need to do to get there. We're confident we'll get there."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Tucker's first hit a big one: After going hitless and drawing a walk in his first three plate appearances in his first game in the Major Leagues, Tucker came through in a big way with a game-tying single in the ninth. The outfielder was called up to replace George Springer, who is out with a concussion.
"It was pretty exciting, especially when we're out there trying to win a ballgame," Tucker said. "I was trying to be aggressive and put the barrel on the ball. I think we did a good job of coming back at the end and shutting them down." More >
Wrong place, wrong time: WIth one out in the eighth and the Angels leading, 2-0, Chris Iannetta didn't tag up on a deep fly ball to center field by Trout, then got hit in the leg by a line drive by Albert Pujols. The ball could've gone through the infield to extend the Angels' lead to 3-0, but instead it ended the inning.
"I just couldn't get out of the way," Iannetta said. "I did whatever I could. I was in mid-stride and I just tried to move my foot over and leg over and I couldn't get over it." More >
Astros keep McStreaking: McHugh pitched another gem by holding the Angels to two runs on five hits while striking out seven batters in 7 1/3 innings. He was on the hook to suffer his first loss since August before the Astros rallied for their 11th consecutive win in a game McHugh has started.
"We did a pretty good job of being as efficient as we could be," McHugh said. "You like to be able to finish out that inning [in the eighth] and not worry about it, not give up one more. But they put a couple of swings on it and that's what happens. Overall, we had a good game plan and executed it pretty well for the most part." More >
Santiago dominates: Hector Santiago gave up just one hit while walking three batters unintentionally (four total) and striking out five to put his ERA at 2.57. The Astros put only three runners in scoring position against him, two of them because of balks. Santiago and fellow lefty starter C.J. Wilson, who pitched seven innings of two-run ball on Thursday, have a combined 2.64 ERA this season.
"I think the soft contact is something that has given me more confidence," Santiago said. "Even when they hit the ball, it's not getting laced somewhere in the gap, it's not getting drilled over the wall. It means I've got good stuff and it's working in the zone." More >
Santiago balked runners into scoring position in the third and fourth innings, becoming the first Angels pitcher with two balks in a game since Scott Sanderson in 1996. But he got through each inning unscathed.
In the fourth, Pujols hit a one-out single and either misjudged a Matt Joyce flare into shallow center fielder or forgot how many outs there were. Marisnick made the catch, ran all the way to first and stepped on the bag, ending the inning with an unassisted double play by a center fielder.
"He thought it was a hit," Scioscia said. "It looked like it was going to fall in there, but it held up enough for him to catch it." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Pujols' batting average is only .250, but the Angels' first baseman has a 10-game hitting streak, his longest since April 2014. During the stretch, Pujols is batting .412 (14-for-34).
Astros: Roberto Hernandez has been up and down for the Astros in his five starts this season and is coming off a game in which he gave up five runs (four earned) in six innings. He'll try to right the ship when he takes the mound for Friday's 9:05 p.m. CT game against the Angels at Angel Stadium.
Angels: Jered Weaver takes the ball at 7:05 PT for the second game of a four-game series, hopeful of finally getting back on track. The Angels' longtime Opening Day starter is 0-4 with a 6.29 ERA in his first six starts, a 34 1/3-inning stretch that has seen him give up 45 hits and strike out just 15 batters. He has a 2.95 ERA in six career starts against the Astros.
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