HOUSTON — The Angels were just fine on offense Friday night against the Houston Astros.
Their pitching was a different story.
Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer and Matt Dominguez's grand slam powered a big fifth inning to give the Astros their fourth straight win, 9-7.
The Angels finished with 12 hits, but Houston tagged Angels starter Jason Vargas (8-7) for nine hits and a season-high eight runs in 41/3 innings.
“This is one of the most unusual nights we've had in the last three weeks,” Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We just didn't get it done on the mound.”
The Astros trailed by a run entering the fifth, when Trevor Crowe singled in two runs to put Houston up, 5-4.
“They were able to manufacture runs even though the balls weren't exactly driven,” Vargas said. “They were able to capitalize and do what it takes to put some runs across the plate. There's really nothing else I could do about that.”
Dominguez's grand slam, off reliever Cory Rasmus, was definitely well-driven; his 20th homer of the season went to left field and extended the lead to 9-4.
Dallas Keuchel (6-9) yielded 10 hits and six runs, but tied his career high by striking out nine in 52/3 innings for his first win since July 27. Josh Fields struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.
Mark Trumbo hit a two-run triple in the third, giving him 95 runs batted in for the year, and Chris Iannetta hit a solo homer in the fourth for the Angels, the only team in the American League with a losing record against Houston this year. The Astros, who have the worst record in baseball, are 10-7 against the Angels, 41-89 against all other teams.
A pair of walks and a single by Erick Aybar loaded the bases for the Angels with no outs in the eighth inning. Mike Trout's bases-loaded walk got them to within 9-7, but Trumbo grounded into a double play.
“We did a lot of good things and had a lot of opportunities,” Scioscia said. “[Houston] got a couple double-play balls to get out of some jams and minimize some damage, and on our side we couldn't do the same.”
In his first game back from the disabled list, Howie Kendrick singled with two outs in the third before Trout drew a walk. Trumbo's triple to center field scored both of them to make it 2-0.
Astros right fielder L.J. Hoes singled in the bottom of the third before a one-out single by Brandon Barnes. Altuve launched his fifth homer to left field to give Houston a 3-2 lead.
Iannetta sent the first pitch of the fourth inning into the seats in left field to tie it at 3-3. Andrew Romine's RBI single with one out put the Angels up 4-3.
Cody Clark started the Astros' fifth with a single — the first hit of his major league career. Clint Barnes singled and Altuve loaded the bases with a one-out single. The single by Crowe put Houston on top 5-4 before Vargas plunked Brandon Laird to load the bases again and end the pitcher's night.
Dominguez, a former first-round draft pick from Chatsworth High, hit Rasmus' first pitch over the left-field fence, and it was 9-4.
“He missed middle-in on a pitch he was trying to go hard away with and Dominguez hit it,” Scioscia said. “You have to give him credit. He missed his location and it ended up being a big, obviously, momentum swing in the game.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times