EditorsNote: updates seventh graf to reflect Oakland’s win; adds new 11th and 14th grafs
Helped by a key error, the Houston Astros rallied for nine runs in the eighth inning to pull out a 10-5 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Angels on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Angels center fielder Mike Trout bashed his 38th home run 414 feet to center field to key a five-run top of the eighth inning for a 5-1 Los Angeles lead before the Astros responded.
Yuli Gurriel, Brian McCann, and Evan Gattis all recorded RBI singles mixed in with walks from Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Reddick.
When Tyler White stepped to the plate with one out and the bases loaded, the Astros trailed 5-4. White hit a sharp grounder to third base that Taylor Ward fielded cleanly before throwing over the head of second baseman Sherman Johnson.
Two runners scored on the misplay, and the Astros played add-on with a two-run single from George Springer and a two-run homer by Altuve, whose leadoff walk initiated the comeback.
Angels right-hander Ty Buttrey (0-1) allowed five runs (four earned) without recording an out.
Roberto Osuna worked a perfect ninth for Houston, which lowered its magic number to clinch the American League West to five. The Astros (97-57) hold a 3 1/2-game lead over Oakland (94-61). The Athletics beat the Minnesota Twins 3-2 on Saturday.
As a pitching staff, the Astros set a major league record for strikeouts in a season with 1,615. Six Houston pitchers fanned a total of 15 batters Saturday, 11 of them by Justin Verlander in six scoreless innings of one-hit ball.
Houston right-hander Hector Rondon continued his September struggles, issuing a leadoff walk in the eighth to pinch hitter Eric Young Jr. with the Astros clinging to a 1-0 lead. Young followed with a steal of second base and scored the tying run when another pinch hitter, Francisco Arcia, doubled to left. Rondon has allowed nine runs over 6 1/3 innings this month.
After Kole Calhoun struck out, Joe Smith entered in relief of Rondon and induced a grounder back to the mound off the bat of Jefry Marte. However, with pinch runner Michael Hermosillo trapped between second and third, Smith hastily initiated the rundown with a throw to Altuve at second, allowing Hermosillo to take third base with ease. Trout followed with a three-run home run.
A single, a walk and an Andrelton Simmons double followed, increasing the Angels’ lead to 5-1.
The bullpen implosion cost Verlander a victory. He recorded his 12th double-digit strikeout effort on the season and his fifth in which he didn’t issue a walk.
Collin McHugh (6-2) earned the win by cleaning up the mess in the eighth.
Justin Upton and Simmons each had two hits for the Angels (75-80).
—Field Level Media