KEY MOMENT: Jake Marisnick singled off Angels starter C.J. Wilson with two outs in the seventh and the Astros leading, 1-0. Manager Mike Scioscia summoned Mike Morin. Marisnick stole second, and Jose Altuve was intentionally walked ahead of switch-hitting Robbie Grossman. This did not appear to be a favorable matchup for Morin, who held right-handed hitters to a .181 average last season but yielded a .283 mark to left-handers. Grossman, batting from the left side, hit a towering fly ball that cleared the 19-foot left-field wall 315 feet away for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead. "The pitch was maybe up, but it was a 307-foot fly ball," Scioscia said. "He just hit it in the right spot." Said Morin: "I didn't execute the pitch, bottom line."
AT THE PLATE: The Angels had a runner on third with one out in the second, but Erick Aybar struck out, Chris Iannetta walked, and Collin Cowgill grounded back to pitcher Dallas Keuchel. They had two on with two outs in the fifth, but Mike Trout struck out swinging on a 2-and-2 breaking ball in the dirt. The Astros didn't get a hit off Wilson until Altuve's two-out infield single in the fifth. George Springer led off the sixth with a solo homer, snapping a scoreless tie.
ON THE MOUND: Wilson rebounded from last Sunday's shaky 5 2/3-inning, six-run, nine-hit loss to Kansas City with a solid 6 2/3-inning, two-run, three-hit, eight-strikeout, four-walk effort. He did not second-guess the changeup Springer lined for a home run. “I beat him a couple times with it, and then he went up there and sat on it,” Wilson said. “That's the way it happens sometimes. If a hitter's going to go up there and sell out to a particular pitch against a guy like me, who has four or five pitches, that's a big risk.” Relievers Chad Qualls, Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson blanked the Angels on one hit over the final three innings.
EJECT BUTTON: Both teams took issue with home plate umpire Paul Nauert's strike zone, which Scioscia described as having "a lot of depth," and Cowgill was ejected after being called out on strikes in the seventh. Cowgill said he wasn't arguing the call. "I was not happy and I flipped my bat, which I shouldn't have done," Cowgill said. "I was taking my shin guard off and it got stuck to my pant leg. I tried to shake it off and it flung off and landed at his feet, and he threw me out of the game. It was 100% an accident."
HAMILTON UPDATE: Josh Hamilton's troubles are not limited to the substance-abuse relapse that has sparked an ugly dispute with the Angels. The outfielder filed for divorce from his wife, Katie, in Tarrant County, Texas, in late February, right around the time his relapse became public, the Dallas Morning-News reported Saturday. The couple has been married since 2004 and has four daughters, ages 3 to 14. Hamilton has been at the Houston-area ranch of a friend since at least early February rehabilitating from Feb. 4 right-shoulder surgery.
RICHARDS RETURN: Garrett Richards will make his long-awaited return from left-knee surgery Sunday. By starting Sunday, the hard-throwing right-hander would miss a May 1-3 series in San Francisco, where he would have to hit. “We will introduce [hitting] to Garrett at some point this season,” Scioscia said, “but we don't have to now.”
UP NEXT: Right-hander Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.61 earned-run average in 2014) will oppose Astros right-hander Scott Feldman (0-2, 6.17) at Minute Maid Park on Sunday at 11 a.m. PDT. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.