Pujols homers; Angels sink Astros with big inning
Updated On: Jul 06 2014 01:42:21 AM CDT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Albert Pujols is climbing the home run ladder with each one he delivers.
The latest boosted the first baseman another rung and propelled the Angels to a 11-5 win over the Houston Astros in an American League West matchup on Saturday night in front of 40,479 at Angels Stadium.
The homer was only part of the carnage. The Angels scored eight runs in the seventh inning, which lasted nearly an hour and was highlighted by three home runs.
"Once our guys got it rolling, they didn't want it to end," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They just wanted to hand over the baton to the next guy. It didn't seem like it took that long, although if you're on the other end, it had to seem like it took two days."
A two-run shot by pinch-hitter David Freese brought the Angels within one at 5-4. Pujols' blast later gave the Angels the lead for the first time since 1-0. Rookie C.J. Cron belted a three-run shot to make it 10-5 in in the Angels' highest-scoring inning of the season.
Pujols' homer easily cleared the right field wall and led to the departure of Astros reliever Anthony Bass (1-1), who was tagged with the loss.
Pujols now has 19 home runs this season and 511 in his career, which ties him with Mel Ott for 23rd all time. The home run and the one he had in Friday's win gave him more than he had in all of his injury-plagued 2013.
"I felt like I had a good swing at it," Pujols said. "It was a key moment after Freese got us close. I was looking for a pitch and I got it."
It was a tough loss for the Astros. Manager Bo Porter went through three pitchers who threw a total of 74 pitches in the inning.
"We couldn't avoid the long ball and it really hurt us," he said. "It seems that every mistake we made, they took advantage. It's tough. At the same time, nobody's going to feel sorry for you. We're all pros here and we've got to find a way to rectify it."
For the better part of seven innings, it looked as though Angels left-hander Hector Santiago was going to be on the hook for yet another loss. He came in 0-7 with a decent 4.08 ERA, but his team had scored just 26 runs in the 10 games he has started.
Santiago gave up five runs, including a grand slam by designated hitter Chris Carter in Houston's five-run third inning, but he wasn't discouraged by his outing.
He departed after five innings, giving up the five runs, six hits and three walks while striking out seven. He retired the Astros in order just once.
"It was really just a matter of two bad pitches. I can't get over the hump," Santiago said. "It's tough. You want to get rid of the 0 and get the monkey off your back, but we won and that's the important thing."
The Angels wasted no time jumping in front as right fielder Kole Calhoun reached on an infield single, advanced to second on a wild pitch by Astros starter Scott Feldman and scored on a one-out single by Pujols in the first inning.
After the Astros took the 5-1 lead, the Angels scored in the fourth inning on an RBI single by second baseman Howie Kendrick.
Feldman was solid in his seven-inning, 104-pitch outing. He gave up two runs, six hits and struck out five and didn't walk a batter.
Michael Roth (1-1), the second of four Angels pitchers, got the win in his first appearance of the season, working a scoreless sixth and seventh inning.
It was the 25th come-from-behind victory for the Angels, who improved to 9-4 against the Astros (36-53) this season.
NOTES: Troy Glaus, MVP of the 2002 World Series, threw out the first pitch before Saturday's game. ... Angels relief specialist Fernando Salas is expected to work one more inning in a rehab appearance on Sunday for high-Class A Inland Empire. He pitched a perfect inning Friday night. ... Angels 3B David Freese heated up and was a big part of recent success. He's hitting .381 (16-for-42) with 10 RBIs and seven extra-base hits in the last 19 games, boosting his average 32 points to .250. ... Astros 2B Jose Altuve went into Saturday's game leading the majors in hits (121), stolen bases (37) and batting average (.342). He has the most hits in the majors in the last two seasons (298). ... Astros LHP Tony Sipp is tied for first among American League relievers in WHIP (0.68). ... Astros manager Bo Porter celebrated his 42nd birthday. He is the youngest manager in the majors.
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