The Houston Astros used a balanced and patient attack in which five different players recorded an RBI and Wade Miley held the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hitless through the first five innings of a 6-2 victory Thursday night.
The Astros scored in the first inning for the third time in the four-game series, albeit in a different manner than has been the case recently. George Springer began the game with a smash that deflected off the glove of shortstop Andrelton Simmons for a leadoff single. Jose Altuve followed with a shot right back to the pitcher that Matt Harvey turned into a tough-luck double play, seemingly dashing the scoring threat.
But Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley each worked a two-out walk, which proved to be costly when Yordan Alvarez ripped a two-run double down the rightfield line to put the Astros on the board early yet again.
Springer popped an opposite-field homer for the second time in as many nights to start the third inning, stretching the Houston lead to 3-0.
The homer was Springer’s 22nd of the year—matching his total from a year ago—and was his fourth longball of the series against the Angels.
George Springer has 4 home runs in this series against the Angels, tying Craig Biggio (August 22-24, 1998 at the Cubs) for the most home runs from the leadoff spot in any series in @astros history.#TakeItBack
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) July 19, 2019
A two-out double from Yuli Gurriel off the wall in right scored Bregman later in the inning and Reddick followed with an RBI single of his own to put the Astros up 5-0.
Bregman hit a solo home run to start the fifth inning, his team-leading 25th of the season, to put the Astros comfortably ahead, 6-0.
The Angels finally collected their first hit of night with two outs in the fifth on a Brian Goodwin double, though Miley was able to retire the next batter to keep Los Angeles scoreless.
That wasn’t the case in the sixth inning, however, when an error by Gurriel helped the Angels score a couple runs. After a leadoff single by David Fletcher, a poor throw from Gurriel allowed Mike Trout to reach base and placed runners at first and third with no outs.
Justin Upton followed with a sacrifice fly to score the Angels first run of the night. A single by the next batter, Simmons, put two runners aboard with one out and ended Miley’s night.
Will Harris came on and surrendered an RBI single to Albert Pujols that trimmed the Astros’ lead to 6-2. Harris, however, got Kole Calhoun to hit into an inning-ending double play to squash the scoring threat.
Collin McHugh tossed a scoreless seventh inning for the Astros.
Trout recorded his first hit in nine career at-bats against Ryan Pressly to start the bottom of the eighth, but the Astros’ best reliever easily wiggled out of the jam with two strikeouts looking.
Roberto Osuna allowed a two-out triple but emerged unscathed with a scoreless ninth inning capped off by a strikeout of Shohei Ohtani.
Miley (8-4, 3.25) permitted two runs (one earned) and three hits over 5 1/3 innings in a 94-pitch outing. He’s only lost once since May 29 and has won seven of his last nine decisions overall.
Matt Harvey (3-5, 7.09) allowed six earned runs over six innings on seven hits and five walks. He only struck out one batter and saw his ERA balloon over 7.00 for the second time this season.
The Astros won the back half of each of their road series to resume action after the All-Star Break and give them a 4-4 eight-game road trip.
Bregman reached base four times on the night and ranks third in the American League in OBP (.403 after play tonight).
Jake Jewell threw three scoreless innings for the Angels and struck out four.
A.J. Hinch matched Larry Dierker with his 435th win of his Astros tenure, the second-most in franchise history.
Box score and videos here.
The Astros begin a three-game set with their intrastate rivals, the Arlington Rangers, Friday night in Minute Maid Park with each club’s ace set to toe the rubber. Justin Verlander (11-4, 2.98), the likely frontrunner for AL Cy Young winner, is scheduled to face Mike Minor (8-4, 2.73), who leads all pitchers in WAR (6.0; Verlander is fourth at 4.1 WAR). The two starters rank second and third in the American League in ERA. Verlander helped the Astros earn a four-game series split against the Rangers his last time out, when he allowed two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts in six innings. Notably, Verlander didn’t allow a home run for the first time in over a month. Minor allowed four runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings in his last start, which was Saturday evening against the Astros. Following his second complete game of the season in his last start of June, Minor has failed to eclipse the fifth inning in his last two starts. First pitch Friday is slated for 7:10 CT.