Defense is key in Astros' win over Angels

Defense is key in Astros' win over Angels

HOUSTON -- In a low-scoring affair such as the Astros' 2-1 win over the Angels at Minute Maid Park on Friday night, every play, especially on defense, matters. But two plays in particular stood out.

In the top of the third, with the game scoreless, Los Angeles' Gregorio Petit hit a slow chopper to Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena.

Valbuena snagged the ball barehanded before rocketing it to first and into Marwin Gonzalez's glove just before Petit was able to cross the bag. Considering Lance McCullers would walk a batter later in the inning, the spectacular 5-3 groundout kept Petit's at-bat from possibly becoming more costly.

Shortstop Carlos Correa made some magic of his own in the top of the ninth.

With the Astros up, 2-1, runners on first and second, and one out, Correa made a diving leap toward Daniel Nava's liner up the middle. He trapped the ball under his glove quickly enough to throw it to second baseman Jose Altuve to secure the fielder's choice.

Correa's diving stop

Altuve wasn't able to throw out Nava for a game-ending double play, but Correa's effort kept the liner from potentially tying the game. Will Harris would strike out the next batter, Ji-Man Choi, to end the game and secure Houston's ninth straight win over Los Angeles.

"[Correa's] first instinct was to knock it down," manager A.J. Hinch said. "He kept it close to him, and we were able to force an out; to knock that ball down was a success in its own right. To get an out of it saved the game."

Jordan Ray is a reporter for MLB.com based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.