EditorsNote: Corrects Rondon’s last name in 3rd graf; Added details in 8th graf
Albert Pujols’ three-run double highlighted a six-run first inning, propelling the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-2 win over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night in Anaheim, Calif.
The Angels improved to 5-0 since the All-Star break. The Astros have lost four of six since the break.
Houston manager A.J. Hinch went with an opener for just the second time this season, but Hector Rondon (3-2) couldn’t make it out of the first inning.
The first six Angels batters reached base, and Los Angeles wound up with five hits in the inning, including two doubles and a triple, as well as a walk and a hit batter.
The Angels had only four hits after the first inning, but it was enough. Shohei Ohtani, Luis Rengifo and Brian Goodwin each had two.
Things got a little chippy between the teams in the sixth inning when Angels reliever Noe Ramirez hit Astros center fielder Jake Marisnick with a pitch. The 90 mph fastball on a 1-1 pitch struck Marisnick on the back of his left shoulder blade, and some in the Houston dugout expressed their dismay.
Marisnick was suspended for two games for going out of his way to run over Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy during a play at the plate on July 7, Lucroy sustaining a broken nose and a concussion, and bad feelings about the play may have lingered for the Angels.
While Marisnick stood on first, the chirping from the visitors got Pujols to react, the Angels first baseman talking several steps toward the Astros’ dugout. Players from both benches and bullpens moved toward the commotion, but things cooled off before anything escalated — with Marisnick actually motioning to his own teammates to calm down and retreat back to the dugout.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney started for Los Angeles, giving up two runs on eight hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out five. Ramirez (4-1) got the win with 1 1/3 scoreless innings, but Justin Anderson probably got the biggest out for the Angels bullpen.
Anderson replaced Ramirez with two on and two outs in the sixth, the Angels up 6-2, to face Michael Brantley. But Brantley, an All-Star for the third year in a row, flied out to left to end the threat.
Both Houston runs scored on RBI singles by Tyler White, one in the fourth inning and another in the fifth. White and Yuli Gurriel each had three hits for the Astros.
—Field Level Media