EditorsNote: fixes play-by-play in sixth graf
Shohei Ohtani celebrated his 25th birthday with a home run, one of four homers clubbed by the Los Angeles Angels in their 5-4 victory over the host Houston Astros on Friday night.
Ohtani blasted a 423-foot solo shot to straightaway center field in the Angels’ three-run third inning. It was his 13th home run of the season, and it came two plate appearances after Kole Calhoun followed a one-out single by David Fletcher with a two-run dinger into the Astros’ bullpen in right-center.
Calhoun’s 19th home run of the season set the tone against Astros starter Justin Verlander.
The Angels snapped a seven-game skid against Houston by homering off Verlander three times for the second time this season. They pulled the same trick on May 5 in Monterrey, Mexico, in a loss to the Astros when Verlander pitched into the seventh inning while allowing four earned runs.
Verlander (10-4) surrendered four runs to the Angels yet again, this time over seven innings. He allowed seven hits and issued one walk while striking out six batters.
Houston cut a 3-1 deficit to one run in the fourth inning when Michael Brantley doubled and scored on a groundout by Yuli Gurriel. Then in the sixth, Verlander surrendered a leadoff homer to Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, his fourth of the season.
All-Star center fielder Mike Trout capped the homer barrage with his 26th to lead off the eighth inning, a 399-foot blast to left-center off Astros right-hander Hector Rondon.
Trout has homered four times over three games, and he matched the club record for home runs prior to the break. Garret Anderson set the mark in 2000, and Trout and Albert Pujols both matched it in 2015.
Gurriel homered for the fourth time in three games in the bottom of the eighth, his two-run, opposite-field shot off Angels right-hander Cam Bedrosian pulling Houston within 5-4.
The Astros had squandered a golden opportunity in the sixth when Brantley (4-for-4, three runs) doubled to push Alex Bregman to third base with no outs. Angels right-handers Justin Anderson and Ty Buttrey combined to record three outs while stranding both runners in scoring position to preserve what was then a two-run lead.
Hansel Robles retired Astros in order in the ninth to record his 12th save, locking up the win for Felix Pena (6-2). Pena allowed two runs on three hits and three walks over four innings. He struck out five.
—Field Level Media