Time spent in Houston seems to bring out the best in the Los Angeles Angels.
Looking to build on their first victory, the Angels try to continue their success at Minute Maid Park with a fourth consecutive road win over the Astros on Saturday night.
After Los Angeles (1-3) batted .177, totaled 17 hits and was outscored 26-8 while being swept at home by Seattle, it broke out for 15 hits during Friday’s 11-1 win at Houston.
”I think with a game like this, hopefully, we build confidence," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully, on the offensive side we build confidence."
Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun all homered for the Angels, who have hit .280 and clubbed 10 homers while amassing a 46-23 scoring advantage in winning seven of eight games at Minute Maid Park.
"The talent is there," Hamilton said. "We don’t go out and try (to score 11 runs) every day. We go out and have the at bats we are going to have. That’s contagious. That’s the mentality we have."
While the Angels obviously feel comfortable in the "Juice Box," their main focus is building on a much-needed victory.
"You don’t want to start 0-4 obviously, so we’re going to keep the same approach and win some more ball games," said Trout, who is 6 for 14 with two homers and five RBIs in four games.
Hamilton went 3 for 3 with a three-run shot after going 3 for 10 with no RBIs and five strikeouts against the Mariners. He’s batting .444 (12 for 27) with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last eight at Houston.
"You go from one hitter to the next, and there is no let-up," said losing pitcher Lucas Harrell, who allowed five runs in three innings. "That’s why they are so good."
After Los Angeles pitchers posted an 8.33 ERA versus Seattle, Garrett Richards and four relievers held the Astros (2-2) to seven hits and recorded 15 strikeouts.
Tyler Skaggs takes the ball in his Angels debut Saturday. Part of the three-team deal that sent Mark Trumbo to Arizona, the left-hander went 3-6 with a 5.43 ERA in 13 starts over the past two seasons with the Diamondbacks.
This will be his first appearance against the Astros, who have totaled 12 runs and 26 hits while striking out 39 times through four games. Houston set a major league record in 2013 with 1,535 strikeouts during its 51-111 season.
Houston second baseman Jose Altuve had two hits with an RBI, and is batting .444 (16 for 36) in his last 10 home games versus Los Angeles.
Houston hopes to have center fielder Dexter Fowler back in the lineup after he missed Friday’s contest with a stomach virus. He went 6 for 12 with two doubles, a homer and a triple while the Astros took two of three from the New York Yankees.
The Astros hand the ball to Dallas Keuchel, who pitched in 31 games last season and went 6-8 with a 4.90 ERA in 22 starts. Despite posting a 6.48 ERA in three starts against the Angels in 2013, the left-hander went 2-0 thanks to an average of 10.80 runs of support.