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Trout homers again, Angels use 4 HRs to edge Astros 5-4

By KRISTIE RIEKENJuly 6, 2019
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Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout hits a home run against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 5, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout hits a home run against the Houston Astros during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 5, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

HOUSTON (AP) — Mike Trout is on a roll and it’s helping the Los Angeles Angels get on one, too.

Trout hit his American League-leading 26th homer, and Kole Calhoun, Shohei Ohtani and Andrelton Simmons also went deep to give the Angels a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Calhoun, Ohtani and Simmons all connected off Houston starter Justin Verlander (10-4) as he gave up three home runs for the third time in his last five starts.

The Angels won for the third time in the four games since pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on Monday.

“Obviously, it’s good to get back into things, but we’re still thinking about him,” Trout said. “He’s watching over us and (we’re) just going out there playing for him.”

The victory snaps a seven-game skid against Houston and ends a five-game winning streak overall by the Astros.

Los Angeles was swept in a three-game series against the Athletics before getting on track in the last few days. Trout’s home run came off Hector Rondon with no outs in the eighth to make it 5-2. It’s his third straight game with a homer and his 26 home runs are tied for his most before the All-Star break and most in franchise history before the midsummer classic.

Calhoun called Trout’s recent offensive outburst “special.”

“He’s a guy that can carry this ballclub,” he said. “We can go a long way on his back.”

The three homers tied a season high for Verlander and he also matched a season high by allowing four runs in seven innings.

“I’ve seen Verlander firsthand, saw him for years,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “Great competitor, great pitcher and you know you’re in for a battle. With that being said, I haven’t come across any pitcher who’s pitched in the big leagues for any length of time who’s unbeatable. You will find most of them have losses. Really, the frame of mind is, yeah, it’s going to be tough but nobody is unbeatable.”

Verlander has allowed an MLB-leading 26 home runs this season, including 12 in his last five starts.

“I’ve got to do a better job of keeping the ball in the yard,” he said. “It’s been a common theme here all year really, but really the last four or five starts. I’ve got to figure out a way to combat this thing.”

Noé Ramirez opened the game and threw a perfect first before Felix Pena (6-2) took over and allowed three hits and two runs while striking out five in four innings.

Michael Brantley homered and tied a career high with four hits as he finished a triple shy of the cycle, and Yuli Gurriel had a two-run shot as he homered for the third straight game. Brantley opened Houston’s second with a home run to right field to make it 1-0.

Brantley singled with one out in the eighth before Gurriel got Houston within a run with his two-out shot to right field off Cam Bedrosian.

Hansel Robles pitched a perfect ninth for his 12th save.

David Fletcher singled with one out in the third before Calhoun sent a pitch from Verlander into the bullpen in right-center for his 19th homer to put the Angels up 2-1.

There were two outs in the inning with Ohtani, who turned 25 on Friday, added a solo shot to push the lead to 3-1.

Brantley and Yordan Alvarez hit consecutive doubles with one out in the fourth before Brantley scored on a groundout by Gurriel to cut the lead to 1.

Simmons opened the sixth inning with his home run to the seats in left field to extend the lead to 4-2.

The Astros had a chance to cut the deficit in the sixth inning when Josh Reddick walked to load the bases with two outs. But Robinson Chirinos grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Verlander allowed seven hits and struck out six to move past Hall of Famer Jim Bunning for 18th place on the all-time strikeouts list with 2,859.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: OF Justin Upton, who left Wednesday’s game with tightness in his left quadriceps, remained out of the lineup Friday, but Ausmus said he was feeling better and could return Saturday. ... RHP Matt Harvey (back) is scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday and is expected to return to the rotation after the All-Star break.

Astros: SS Carlos Correa (broken rib) and INF Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) are at Houston’s spring training facility in Florida continuing their rehabilitation. Manager AJ Hinch said both players are improving, but did not have a timetable for their return. ... RHP Corbin Martin, ranked by MLB.com as Houston’s No. 4 prospect, had Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.

REMEMBERING TYLER

The Astros observed a moment of silence before the game to honor Skaggs. The team also planned to donate the proceeds of their charity raffle on Friday night to the Angels Baseball Foundation.

UP NEXT

Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (1-2, 5.40 ERA) will start for Los Angeles on Saturday night. Heaney yielded six hits and five runs in six innings of a loss to Oakland in his last start.

Astros: RHP Gerrit Cole (8-5, 3.28) is scheduled to start for Houston on Saturday. Cole allowed five hits and one run in seven innings against Seattle in his last start to win his fourth straight decision.

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