EditorsNote: Minor tweaks throughout, shortens headline
Marwin Gonzalez keyed a four-run eighth inning with a leadoff home run, and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to four games with an 8-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday at Angel Stadium.
Gonzalez slugged his 14th homer, and eighth this month, to end what had been a frustrating stretch for the Astros, who stranded runners at third base in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Gonzalez’s home run extended the Astros’ lead to 5-3, and Alex Bregman added an RBI double before scoring along with Tony Kemp on a throwing error by third baseman Taylor Ward. Houston fashioned its rally against left-hander Williams Jerez, the Angels’ sixth pitcher of the game.
The Angels slowly clawed back from a four-run deficit, striking first in the fourth inning when designated hitter Shohei Ohtani belted a two-run homer off Astros right-hander Justin Verlander (13-8).
Verlander carried a 26-inning scoreless streak at Angel Stadium into the fourth before Ohtani belted his 14th dinger 416 feet the opposite way to left-center field.
Verlander has allowed 27 home runs this season, just three shy of his career-high 30 in 2016.
Two innings later, the Angels inched closer, with shortstop Andrelton Simmons plating Mike Trout with a two-out triple to left-center that just missed clearing the fence and tying the game.
Verlander rallied to induce an inning-ending groundout from catcher Francisco Arcia, closing his outing having allowed three runs on six hits and two walks with six strikeouts over six innings.
The Astros appeared set for an easy win following their three-run first inning, taxing Angels right-hander Jaime Barria (8-8) for 36 pitches in that frame. After Jose Altuve drove in Bregman with a single, Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel added run-scoring doubles to continue the ambush.
Gurriel produced another RBI double in the third, plating Altuve for a 4-0 lead. Barria worked three innings, allowing five hits and two walks with one strikeout. He surrendered four doubles.
Bregman, Altuve, Gonzalez, Gurriel and Josh Reddick posted multi-hit games for Houston. The Angels have dropped five consecutive games. Ohtani was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.
—Field Level Media