ANAHEIM -- The Astros' stagnant offense got a huge jolt in the eighth inning Tuesday. And, of course, it came off the bat of reigning American League Most Valuable Player Jose Altuve.
Altuve doubled in three runs to send the Astros to their sixth win in their past eight games, 5-3, over the Angels at Angel Stadium. It was the Astros' first victory of the season when trailing after seven innings (1-15).
"That game went from a quiet offensive night to a really good ending," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "Sometimes baseball will trick you from time to time. That was an interesting game. Glad we won."
The Astros (27-17), who moved one game ahead of the Angels (25-17) for the American League West lead, were held to one run on four hits in seven innings by rookie Jaime Barria before rallying against the Angels' bullpen to erase a 3-1 deficit.
"You just try to hit the ball," Altuve said. "Bases loaded, down by two, you just want to make contact and score a run at least and let Carlos [Correa] get another at-bat. Like I said, just put the ball in play. I didn't hit it really hard, but probably in the right spot."
Josh Reddick ignited the rally with a leadoff double off reliever Jose Alvarez. Pinch-hitter Yuli Gurriel singled to right and Alex Bregman drew a one-out walk to load the bases for Altuve, who had been in a 2-for-18 slump.
"Altuve hit a good pitch, and that's probably the one guy you don't want to see in that situation there, but unfortunately he found him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Altuve fell behind 0-2 vs. Alvarez before reaching out for a 1-2 slider below the zone and sending it into the left-field corner to clear the bases for a 4-3 lead. Altuve had only two RBIs in 58 May at-bats prior to his go-ahead hit.
"At the end of the day, it's about results," Hinch said. "I think guys will take it any way they can get it, any pitch they can swing it, anything they can do positive was going to feel really good tonight. We did really nothing, really, in the game, and then had really good at-bats. ... The inning sets up for the matchup of the night, and Jose won, as he does a lot of times."
Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole lasted only five innings in his shortest start of the season, striking out seven and giving up multiple homers for the first time since April 13 against Texas. He went 36 innings without giving up a homer before Justin Upton went deep to left in the first inning to score Michael Trout, who led off the inning with a walk. Rene Rivera hit a solo shot off Cole in the fifth.
Cole didn't have a feel for his slider, and his fastball command came and went. Hinch said one of the reasons he took Cole out after five innings was because of a 10-minute delay in the fifth when plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth left the game after being struck in the mask by a foul ball and replacement CB Bucknor had to put the gear on.
"It was a bit of a grind out there," Cole said. "The command eluded me at times, and that kind of ran the pitch count up and gave them control of the zone. But at the same time, Upton put a really good swing on a good curveball and Trout saw a lot of pitches in three really good at-bats. Unfortunately, a mistake to Rivera. They put together a lot of good at-bats, and I wasn't able to command."
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Reddick threw out a pair of baserunners from right field, giving him six outfield assists for the season. In the fifth, he threw out Trout, who was trying to go from first to third on a Shohei Ohtani single. In the seventh, he threw out Ian Kinsler, who was trying to score from second on a Kole Calhoun single. Reddick's throw to nab Trout was 88.6 mph from a distance of 213 feet and caught Trout despite an elite sprint speed of 30.3 feet per second.
"Some hard-hit balls that I got to pretty quick," Reddick said. "Luckily I was lined up right. I thought I had a good shot at both of them. Just trying to get people out, man. Just trying to do my job and help pick up the pitchers wherever I can."
Astros reliever Collin McHugh, who threw two scoreless innings, hasn't allowed a run in his last 11 appearances, with 21 strikeouts in 14 1/3 innings in that span.
HE SAID IT
"I think, in Altuve's mind, he's struggling, and he's still hitting .310. I'd like to be on that train." -- Reddick
Justin Verlander (4-2, 1.21 ERA) will square off with the Angels' Garrett Richards (4-1, 4.08 ERA) in Wednesday night's 8:40 CT series finale. Verlander leads the Majors in ERA, WHIP (0.72), opponents' batting average (.146) and opponents' OPS (.461).