Trout hits 10th HR, Ohtani shaky, Angels beat Astros 8-7
Trout hit his major league-leading 10th homer and the Angels overcame another shaky outing by Ohtani to beat Houston 8-7 Tuesday night, tying a team record with their 11th straight road win.
Simmons homered twice with a career-high five RBIs, connecting for a tiebreaking, three-run drive in the seventh inning. The Angels also won 11 in a row outside Anaheim in 1988.
Ohtani yielded four runs on six hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings. The two-way star from Japan was tagged by Boston in his previous start and left after two innings because of a blister problem.
”You look at the five walks, but I tell you, Shohei wasn’t missing by much,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ”As the game went on he got really good command of his split, threw some terrific pitches. Just had to work hard … he had good stuff, gave us a chance to win, and that’s all you can ask for.”
Ohtani struck out seven and has fanned 26 this year, a record for an Angels pitcher after the first four career games of his career.
He said he felt better than he did in his last outing.
”To get my pitch count down, I’ve got to throw first-pitch strikes,” he said through a translator. ”That’s the key. Also, the Astros have a very good lineup and they made me work really hard. If the pitch count goes up, there’s nothing I can do about that.”
The Angels jumped on Charlie Morton early to build a 4-1 lead. Derek Fisher hit a two-run homer for Houston in the fifth off Ohtani and Brian McCann added a two-run homer off Jose Alvarez in the sixth to put the Astros ahead.
There were runners at first and second with two outs in the seventh when Albert Pujols snapped an 0-for-7 slide with an RBI single to tie it at 5. Simmons then sent a pitch from Joe Smith (1-1) to the train tracks atop left field for fourth career multihomer game.
”They won the World Series last year and we beat them two times in a row,” Simmons said. ”It’s just a confidence-booster for us.”
Alex Bregman hit an RBI single off Jim Johnson (2-0) in the seventh and Marwin Gonzalez added a run-scoring single off Justin Anderson to cut the lead to 8-7 with one out in the inning. But Anderson retired the next two batters to wriggle out of a bases-loaded jam and preserve the lead.
Cam Bedrosian walked one in a scoreless ninth for his first save.
Morton, who entered the game with an AL-leading 0.72 ERA, allowed five hits and a season-high four runs, while walking a season-most five in four-plus innings.
”The big inning that he struggled, there were a few close-call walks and a few infield singles – that inning took a lot out of him,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”He didn’t look like he could throw the ball where he wanted to, which is uncommon of him.”
Bregman doubled with two outs in the second and Houston cut the lead to 2-1 when he scored on a single by Gonzalez.
Morton, who had only walked six batters in his first four starts combined, loaded the bases on three straight walks to start the third inning. Justin Upton followed with an RBI single on a high chopper to push the lead to 3-1.
Simmons singled with one out on a grounder to third base to send another run home and leave Los Angeles up 4-1.
Angels: Simmons returned after sitting out on Monday after being hit with a pitch on the forearm in Sunday’s game.
Pujols’ hit moved him within seven of reaching 3,000. The slugger, who has 618 homers, is looking to become the fourth player in major league history with at least 3,000 hits and 600 home runs.
WHAT A STEAL
With Ian Kinsler’s swipe, the Angels improved to 13 of 13 on steal attempts this season. They are the eighth team in major league history to not get caught stealing once through the first 24 games of a season. The last team to do it was the Mets, who weren’t caught stealing in the first 26 games of the 2015 season.
Angels: Nick Tropeano (1-1, 3.75 ERA) will start in the series finale on Wednesday, looking to bounce back after allowing seven hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings of a loss to Boston in his last outing.
Astros: Justin Verlander (3-0, 1.10) looks to extend his regular-season winning streak to 11 games when he starts on Wednesday. Verlander allowed two hits in six scoreless innings of a win over the White Sox in his last outing.
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