Seven-run frame lifts Angels to ninth straight win

Four players drive in two runs as Halos cut magic number to five

Seven-run frame lifts Angels to ninth straight win

ANAHEIM -- Click -- the switch flipped.

During the Angels' 11-3 win over Houston on Friday night -- one that pushed their American League West lead to 11 games and whittled their magic number down to five, they flipped the switch one more time.

They had already flipped it in mid-August, first when they turned a four-game division deficit into a double-digit lead, and second when they turned Garrett Richards' season-ending injury into a 17-5 stretch.

They had already flipped it during their most recent road trip, first with a modest one-run win in Minnesota that spring boarded a nine-game winning streak, and second when they turned Josh Hamilton's absence into a 9.5 runs per game offense over their last eight games.

"You never really want to talk about flicking a switch, but it's almost like it started to happen when we went to Minnesota, especially," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We started swinging the bats the way we can."

Kole Calhoun, who went 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs, also pointed to Sunday's game in Minnesota as a turning point for the Angels, when they scored 14 runs.

"It's seemed since then, the offense hasn't quit," Calhoun said.

The Angels matched a franchise record with their eighth straight game scoring at least seven runs and their 81 games in their last nine games in tied for the second-most in franchise history. For the first time since 2004, the Halos have won nine straight games. During the nine-game winning streak, the Angels are hitting .328 and have 40 extra-base hits.

On Saturday, they'll look to make it 10 in a row for the first time since 2002, when the Angels last won the World Series.

On Friday, though, they reached back to flip the switch again, this time in the middle of the fourth inning.

After the Astros jumped out to a 3-0 lead through 3 1/2 innings, nothing seemed to be going right for the Angels. C.J. Wilson needed 96 pitches to record 12 outs and the offense had zero baserunners.

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The Angels scratched out two runs in the bottom of the fourth behind Mike Trout's RBI double and Jonathan Villar's error on the relay throw.

"All of a sudden, we're back in the ballgame and they're like 'Have we been scoring a lot of runs lately?'" Wilson said.

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The Angels then exploded for seven in the fifth inning before adding two more in the sixth.

In the fifth inning, the Angels sent 12 men to the plate and had two players reach twice. Of the seven Angels hits in the fifth, only two went for extra bases -- Trout's RBI triple and David Freese's two-run home run -- as shaky Houston defense allowed the Halos to take the lead.

With one out and men on first and second, Collin Cowgill lifted a fly ball to right, where Jake Marisnick seemed poised to make the routine out. But the ball glanced off Marisnick's glove and allowed one run to score and runners to advance to second and third. The Angels added six more runs to take a commanding six-run lead.

The seven-run inning was the fourth time in the last six games that the Angels have scored at least six runs in a single frame.

Four different Angels registered mulit-hit games and four drove in at least two runs, even with most of the regulars removed by the end of the sixth inning.

"We don't have anybody hitting .375 or anything like that, everyone just kind of seems to be heating up together," Wilson said.

The switch flipped for Angels pitchers, too. After giving up a run in the fourth, Wilson retired the Astros in order in the fifth. Mike Morin, Vinnie Pestano, Jairo Diaz and Cam Bedrosian shut down the Astros the rest of the way.

"Our offense has been on a roll right now," Wilson said. "Staying out of the big inning keeps them hungry and gives them a chance to go out there and win the game."

Matthew DeFranks is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MDeFranks. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.