ANAHEIM -- Matt Shoemaker was dominant again Friday night, throwing a career-high 8 1/3 innings and riding Albert Pujols' 570th career homer, as he helped give the Angels a 7-2 win over the Astros at Angel Stadium, halting Houston's three-game win streak.
Shoemaker worked a season-high in innings for the second consecutive start while striking out 11 and becoming the ninth Angels pitcher (and first since Jered Weaver in 2010) to post back-to-back games with 10 or more strikeouts.
"Hopefully he's turned the corner on some things," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Shoemaker. "We're not surprised at all with the last two games and how he's pitched. We were surprised by some of the inconsistencies last year and early this year."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Pujols Power: The Angels offense exploded for a season-high six runs in the third inning off of Fiers, opening up the scoring on a Kole Calhoun RBI single, followed by a bases-clearing three-RBI double by Mike Trout. The frame was highlighted by a two-run blast from Pujols, his 10th of the season and 570th of his career. The shot moved him past Rafael Palmeiro for 12th on the all-time home run list. He sits three behind Harmon Killebrew. More >
Finally: Astros third baseman Colin Moran, who opened his Major League career with 13 hitless at-bats, singled to center field off Shoemaker with one out in the fifth inning for his first career hit. Moran also flied out to the warning track in left-center in the seventh inning. In the ninth, he ended the Angels' shutout bid with a two-out, two-run single off reliever Cam Bedrosian.
"It felt really good," Moran said. "It felt really good to get one [the first] with two strikes, too."
Shoemaker Shovin': Shoemaker was lights-out for the second consecutive start, shutting down the Astros lineup to the tune of 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball and 11 strikeouts. He became the first player in Angels franchise history to post back-to-back games with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks. Over that time, his ERA has dropped from 8.49 to 5.96. Shoemaker said his recent improvement has been a collection of things coming together in his last two outings. More >
"It's just been a bunch of little things as well as just going out there and pitching," he said. "I'm throwing better pitches in better counts, and just a whole mix of stuff."
Fine relief: Right-hander Chris Devenski pitched 4 1/3 innings of one-hit, shutout relief for the Astros. The former starter stuck out four, and walked two. "That was very good for our bullpen," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "The way we had close games in the last series, we needed him to step up."
"Maybe that can relax him a little more, and propel him into hitter mode." -- Hinch, on Moran's first two hits
"Sometimes when you're on the mound, and every pitcher goes through it, you go out there just kind of throwing the ball. You get the sign, the pitch and you just throw the ball. When you're focused on the catcher, the execution of the pitch, what the hitter's trying to do, all that stuff and the focus is there, the execution is better." -- Shoemaker, on his early season struggles
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Trout smashed a three-run, bases-loaded double in the third inning that came off the bat at 113 miles per hour and smacked just below the top of the wall in center field. It was inches short of his 150th career home run, and the latest in his successes with the bases loaded. Trout is hitting .381/.404/.786 with 62 RBIs for his career with the bases loaded.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel will try to finish a bad month (0-3, 7.58 ERA) on a high note at Angel Stadium, facing a team he's enjoyed much success against at 9:05 p.m. CT on Saturday. Keuchel has seven career victories vs. the Angels, his most over any opponent.
Angels: The Angels send veteran right-hander Jered Weaver (4-3, 5.33 ERA) back on the mound, fresh off his first win in his last four decisions. He's had a lot of success against the Astros in his career, going 5-3 with a 2.98 ERA in nine career starts against them. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT .