Battle atop AL West: Altuve's 5 RBI lead Astros past Angels
Jose Altuve is the spark plug that powers the Houston Astros.
The boost he provides was on full display Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Angels, as he had a career-high five RBI to lead the Astros to a 10-5 victory.
The Astros moved into a tie with the Angels for first place in the American League West.
"He sets the tempo every time he comes to the plate and we know something big is going to happen every time he's out there," Houston rookie Carlos Correa said.
The Astros fell behind by three early before tying it up with a three-run second inning, featuring a two-run homer by Chris Carter and an RBI single by Altuve.
Altuve drove in two runs in the fourth inning and tacked on another two with a double in Houston's four-run sixth to make it 10-5. He finished with three hits.
"If you are able to drive those runs in this situation against the Angels, tied or in first place, it has to be good," Altuve said. "I want to keep doing things for my team to win."
Chris Iannetta homered for the Angels, who played without Mike Trout because of an injured left wrist. An MRI didn't show any structural damage and he's listed as day to day.
Houston starter Collin McHugh (12-5) allowed seven hits and five runs with four walks in five innings for his third straight win.
C.J. Wilson (8-8) yielded six hits and six runs in four-plus innings.
"The way C.J. pitched tonight wasn't going to work anywhere," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He struggled. He struggled with just about everything he was trying to do."
Correa homered in the first as part of his three hits and Evan Gattis hit his career-high seventh triple for the Astros. Correa, who has played just 42 games, leads all AL shortstops with nine home runs.
Conor Gillaspie put the Angels on top with an RBI double in the first, and another run scored when Erick Aybar grounded into a force out.
Houston cut the lead to 2-1 on Correa's two-out, opposite-field shot to right field in the bottom of the first.
Shane Victorino, who was making his debut with the Angels after a trade from Boston on Monday, singled to start the second. He scored on a single by Gillaspie. Albert Pujols added an RBI single with two outs to push the lead to 4-1.
Wilson plunked Luis Valbuena with no outs in the second before Carter's shot to the bullpen in right-center got Houston within 4-3. Wilson then hit former Angel Hank Conger with a pitch and made a gesture with his leg indicating that he thought Conger put his leg in front of the ball purposely.
Altuve, whose previous high in RBI was four, singled with two outs to score Conger and tie it up, but was out trying to stretch it into a double.
The Astros trailed by one in the fourth before going back on top thanks to aggressive base running. There were runners at first and second with two outs in the inning when Altuve singled to score Colby Rasmus. He took off for second on the play and waved Jake Marisnick home as he was about to get caught in a rundown, allowing Marisnick to score and make give Houston a 6-5 lead.
"Just being able to score on that type of play, our speed is pretty good," manager A.J. Hinch said. "Jake has been electrifying on the bases when we get him on there."
Angels: OF Matt Joyce, who was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after colliding with Aybar on Sunday, is feeling better and Scioscia said they'll have a better idea of when he'll return this weekend when he's re-evaluated. ... RHP Jered Weaver is scheduled to throw 60 pitches in a rehabilitation start with Class-A Inland Empire on Thursday. He hasn't pitched since June 20 because of an injured left hip.
Astros: INF Jed Lowrie, who has been out since April 27 because of a torn ligament in his thumb, will return to Houston on Wednesday to be re-evaluated after playing the fifth game of a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi on Tuesday night. ... RHP Samuel Deduno, who has been on the disabled list since May, will have arthroscopic surgery on his injured hip next week. Hinch said the surgery will likely be season-ending.
After trading for Victorino on Monday, the Angels made two more deals on Tuesday. They added outfielders David DeJesus in a trade with the Rays and David Murphy in a deal with the Indians.
Houston rookie Lance McCullers opposes Garrett Richards when the series continues on Wednesday. The 21-year-old McCullers will be making his 13th major-league start. He is 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA.