ANAHEIM -- Carlos Correa's two-out, go-ahead single off Bud Norris in the 10th inning scored Jose Altuve with the winning run and atoned for the Astros' messy ninth inning in a 7-6 win over the Angels in Friday night's series opener at Angel Stadium.The Halos rallied for four runs in
ANAHEIM -- Carlos Correa's two-out, go-ahead single off Bud Norris in the 10th inning scored Jose Altuve with the winning run and atoned for the Astros' messy ninth inning in a 7-6 win over the Angels in Friday night's series opener at Angel Stadium.
The Halos rallied for four runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 6 and force extra innings, but the Astros restored their lead after Altuve hit a two-out single and stole second to set up Correa's game-winning hit. The Astros improved to 20-10 to match their best start in franchise history, also done in 1973.
"It was a tough ninth inning," Correa said. "[Dallas] Keuchel did a great job through the entire game. Just one bad inning, that was it. At the end of the day, we were able to win the game, and that's what matters."
Keuchel, named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April earlier this week, stymied the Angels for the first eight innings, allowing just a pair of solo homers. He started the ninth with a 6-2 lead but was pulled after giving up three consecutive singles. Ken Giles couldn't close the door, allowing all three inherited runners to score and the tying run was charged to him on a pinch-hit single by Kole Calhoun.
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"That was a lot of action after the seventh," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We got a majority of our hits after the seventh. They got a majority of their hits really in the ninth. There wasn't a lot of action. Both well-pitched games, and then flurry at the end."
The Astros have now won five of their last six games, while the Halos have dropped three in a row.
Martin Maldonado's first home run as an Angel gave the Halos a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but the Astros rallied for three runs in the seventh behind Brian McCann's three-run shot off left-hander Jose Alvarez. McCann also knocked in a run with a single in the ninth to finish with four RBIs. Josh Reddick chipped in with a pair of RBIs of his own, one of which came via a solo home run in the third.
Angels right-hander Jesse Chavez was charged with three runs on four hits over 6 1/3 innings. Right-hander Keynan Middleton made his Major League debut in the ninth with the Halos trailing, 5-2, and gave up one run on two hits -- including a first-pitch double to Carlos Beltran -- while striking out one.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Altuve steal sets up Correa: Altuve's two-out single in the 10th off Norris -- his first hit in five at-bats -- was clutch. Subsequently stealing second base proved to be crucial for the Astros. Altuve got into scoring position with two outs, and that allowed him to score the game-winning run on Correa's single to right. Last week in Cleveland, Altuve was thrown out at second trying to steal with the Astros down by a run in the ninth inning following a pinch-hit single.
"You've got to keep playing," Hinch said. "Obviously, he's waiting on him to lift and when he lifted he got a nice jump. Maldonado's got a really good arm and you've got to be pretty precise to get a stolen base when everybody in the ballpark knows you're trying to get that base."
Kole comes through: Calhoun came off the bench and delivered a clutch pinch-hit single to right field against Giles, who needed one out to close out the game, to cap a four-run rally in the ninth. Calhoun, who was out of the lineup against lefty Keuchel with what was described as a day of rest, hit the first pitch -- a slider -- thrown by Giles to force extra innings.
"We've been bouncing back, coming from behind all year," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We put together a great inning in the ninth. Good at-bats all the way around. We just couldn't get that last hit to push us through, but our guys played hard."
Pujols inches closer to history: Pujols continued to torment the Astros, crushing his 595th career home run off Keuchel to give the Angels a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second. Pujols launched an 0-1 fastball 431 feet to straightaway center, collecting his fourth homer of the season and his 55th career blast against Houston -- his most against any club. More >
The 37-year-old slugger is now only five homers away from becoming the ninth player in Major League history to join the 600-home run club.
"It was very unfortunate for the ninth inning to go the way it did, but any time you can give [Keuchel} a lead you're going to be in good shape," -- Astros outfielder Josh Reddick, who went 2-for-5 with a home run
"I was actually able to slow it down in my head. That was pretty much the only thing I was worrying about, going into it. I was able to slow it down after the first pitch. We were able to lock it in and get out of the inning." -- Middleton on making his Major League debut for the Angels.
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Beltran's doubles pushed him pass Pete Rose and alone into third place all-time for extra-base hits among switch-hitters with 1,043. The doubles also allowed him to pass Rogers Hornsby and go into 34th in Major League history with 542, tied with Harry Heilmann. More >
Hinch successfully reviewed a play at second base in the first inning. Cameron Maybin was originally called safe trying to slide into second on a ball that got away from catcher McCann, but the call was overturned and Maybin was out.
Astros: Right-hander Lance McCullers will be searching for his first road victory in three starts this year when the Astros face the Angels at 8:07 p.m. CT Saturday at Angel Stadium. McCullers (2-1, 4.08 ERA) is 0-1 with a 9.64 ERA in two road starts this year and 3-9 with a 5.32 ERA in 18 career road starts, including a pair of no-decisions against the Angels in his 2015 rookie season.
Angels: Right-hander JC Ramirez (3-2) will take the mound on Saturday as the Angels continue their three-game series with the Astros at 6:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Ramirez suffered his first loss of the season against Houston on April 19 after allowing three runs over 5 1/3 innings at Minute Maid Park.
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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.