EditorsNote: rewords lede
Tyler Skaggs scattered four hits in seven innings, and Kole Calhoun and Justin Upton each had RBIs in the middle innings as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the host Houston Astros 2-0 on Monday in the opener of a three-game series between the top two teams in the American League West.
Skaggs (3-1) outdueled Houston’s Gerrit Cole, who took his first loss with the Astros. Skaggs struck out three and walked one, retired the side in order in four of his seven innings and set down the final 10 batters he faced.
Angels closer Keynan Middleton allowed a single and a walk in the ninth inning before striking out Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis. The game ended when Yuli Gurriel was caught trying to advance from second to third on a ball that bounced away from Los Angeles catcher Martin Maldonado, allowing Middleton to record his sixth save of the season.
Cole (2-1) saw his ERA jump from 0.96 to 1.29 after surrendering two runs on four hits in seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two, pitching his fifth outstanding game for the Astros since being traded to Houston from the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason.
The game was scoreless until the fifth, when Calhoun, who had been mired in a 0-for-20 slump, singled to right field off Cole to drive home Luis Valbuena.
Los Angeles added a run in the sixth as Upton’s double to center field plated Mike Trout, who had singled with two outs on a 0-2 pitch.
Justin Anderson, who was making his major league debut, relieved Skaggs in the eighth and allowed two-out singles to George Springer and Jose Altuve before striking out Carlos Correa.
Altuve and Gonzalez had two hits each for the Astros, who had a six-game winning streak snapped.
Tuesday’s second game in the series will feature Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani (2-1, 3.60 ERA) against Astros right-hander Charlie Morton (3-0, 0.72).
—Field Level Media