Correa, Altuve help pull Astros into tie for first
By Alden Gonzalez and Chandler Rome
HOUSTON -- Jose Altuve drove in a career-high five runs, and Carlos Correa and Chris Carter went deep as the Astros rallied from an early three-run deficit to beat the Angels, 10-5. The two clubs now sit tied atop the AL West.
Houston broke open the back-and-forth affair in the sixth, padding its tenuous 6-5 lead with four extra-base hits and four runs -- highlighted by Altuve's two-run double and Evan Gattis' seventh triple of the season. Eight of the nine Astros starters had hits, including four with multi-hit games.
"We had guys on base eight out of eight innings, and when you do that and you score 10 runs, a lot of guys had to do some good things," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "Being able to say all of those names on a night like tonight is the theme of the night. We had contributions from virtually everyone."
Correa's first-inning opposite-field home run and Chris Carter's first-pitch bomb to the bullpen in the second -- which came off the bat at 111 mph according to Statcast™ -- kept Houston within striking distance after the Angels had taken advantage of an erratic Collin McHugh.
For the Angels, Conor Gillaspie had RBIs in the first two frames off McHugh, who walked three in the first inning and struggled to find his command. Albert Pujols added an RBI single in the second to give the Angels a 4-1 lead -- a lead starter C.J. Wilson couldn't hold, as he surrendered six earned runs in just four innings.
"Any time the team scores five runs for me, I feel really good about my chances," Wilson said. "But I just sort of dropped that one right in the toilet."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Alert Altuve: Altuve willed two of his career-high five RBIs to the dish in a pivotal fourth inning sequence after he shot a single to center field. Hank Conger easily scored from second on the play, but the throw was cut off. Altuve, caught in a rundown, was shown waving Jake Marisnick home, while he ensured the rundown lasted long enough for the speedster to score from first. The Astros took a lead they would never relinquish.
"I was a little excited, that's why I did it," Altuve said. "I kind of stumbled and was like, 'Come on, let's get around.' ... As soon as I turned around and the first baseman caught the ball, I knew I was going to be out. So I was like, 'OK, now try to go.' That was a big run for us in that inning."
Astro-nomical struggles: Wilson has now allowed 35 runs (34 earned) in his last 37 1/3 innings against the Astros, an eight-start stretch that dates back to the start of 2014. Wilson gave up seven runs in just 3 1/3 innings against the Astros on June 23 -- the last time the Angels had given up more than seven runs in a game. He allowed six hits and three walks, while recording only 12 outs in the series opener.
"The Astros team has nothing to do with my sinker or my slider or my changeup or anything like that," Wilson said. "In a vacuum, you have to evaluate yourself. If I'm two strikes on a guy, I know that Chris is setting up right here. And if I can't hit his glove, that has nothing to do with hitters. It's my fault."
McHugh Manages: A common theme of McHugh's latest starts continued Tuesday: He tiptoed around trouble to keep earning wins. McHugh, who walked three in the first inning after walking three in a game just twice in his previous 20 starts, spotted the Angels two runs after just five batters. McHugh allowed a solo homer to Chris Iannetta in the third, but settled in to retire the next five in a row and wiggled out of a jam in the fifth by striking out Shane Victorino on three pitches to keep him in line for his 12th win.
The Astros now have two 12-game winners -- McHugh and Dallas Keuchel -- for the first time since 2006 when Roy Oswalt and Andy Pettitte were dealing.
"It's probably the ugliest pitchers' wins you'll see and the prettiest team wins you'll be able to witness," McHugh said. "Everything besides what I did out there today, we did extraordinarily well. It was fun to watch and fortunate enough to be on the right side of it."
Sloppy, sloppy: The Angels gave the Astros a couple of extra runs, both on Jose Altuve singles with two outs. In the second, shortstop Erick Aybar couldn't make a play on a slow roller to his right from Altuve, letting the ball to trickle into the outfield and allowing Hank Conger to score from second. In the fourth, first baseman C.J. Cron cut off a throw from center fielder Daniel Robertson, but Altuve's extended rundown allowed Marisnick to score.
"We've been playing good defense," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Tonight was just not a good game."
"If he gets to 10, then we're going to buy a lottery ticket -- together. I'm going to make sure he buys it."-- Hinch, on the 6-foot-4, 230-pound Gattis' team-leading seventh triple
"It was sore waking up yesterday. I got an X-ray and no fracture. Today I came in and it was sore. I took a couple swings in the cage and obviously felt it. It was bothering me pretty bad. The MRI was probably the best it could be. I have to take the positives away from that." -- Mike Trout, on the left wrist that kept him out of the lineup on Tuesday but sustained no structural damage
Shane Victorino reached on a bunt single in his first Angels at-bat, then grounded out and struck out, while starting in left field and batting eighth. Victorino, now only a right-handed hitter, is expected to platoon in left field with David DeJesus, who was acquired alongside fellow left-handed hitter David Murphy on Tuesday.
"It's nice to be here," Victorino said. "Obviously the outcome wasn't the outcome I hoped for, especially my first day here. But to be around a bunch of these guys, to be back in first place - tied for first, whatever it is - and to be in a position to contend, be on a team that has a chance to get back to the playoffs, you always feel honored."
Hinch challenged the safe call at the back-end of Aybar's first-inning RBI fielder's choice. The call at first base stood after a 3:25 delay, and the Angels took a 2-0 lead.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels:Garrett Richards takes the mound for the second of a three-game series from Minute Maid Park. Richards has posted a 2.34 ERA over his last eight starts and has allowed just three runs in his last 17 innings. Richards has a 3.50 ERA in 54 career innings against the Astros.
Astros: Rookie Lance McCullers Jr. gets the start, six days removed from a laborious five-inning stint in which he allowed two runs and three walks in Houston's 5-4 walk-off win against the Red Sox. McCullers is the first pitcher in Astros history to allow three earned runs or fewer in 11 of his first 12 career starts.