The single was to shallow left field, and Houston’s Colby Rasmus was coming up throwing, but Angels third base coach Gary
DiSarcina jumped down the line, windmilling his arm: go. Taylor Featherston barreled toward home.
Manager Mike Scioscia had talked about situations like this before Friday’s game. The Angels have been uncharacteristically slow this season. They rank second to last in the major leagues in steals, worse even than the no-go Dodgers.
And yet Scioscia claimed, “I think in some smaller departments of manufacturing runs, our baserunning has done very well.”
Here was the aggressiveness. Featherston said he was going on anything to the outfield. The throw tailed toward first base. Featherston assumed a Superman pose, diving headfirst. He just beat the swiping tag. In the second inning, the Angels had just manufactured three runs, and they needed all of them to beat the first-place Astros, 3-2.
With 22 games remaining, the Angels stayed three games behind the Texas Rangers in the wild-card race and moved within 41/2 games of the Astros in the division.
“Every game’s big now,” said Kole Calhoun, who had the Angels’ only two RBIs. “Any win we can pull out is huge.”
Earlier in the inning, Erick Aybar advanced on an error and scampered home on a wild pitch. Then Calhoun knocked in Carlos Perez and the hustling Featherston.
Astros ace Dallas Keuchel (17-7) didn’t give up an earned run but took the loss.
Right-hander Jered Weaver, as usual, preyed on the Astros’ impatience. He gave up two runs in six innings and struck out seven, mostly baiting batters into swinging as though they were trying to launch the baseball into orbit.
In the sixth inning, on a 75-mph changeup, Carlos Gomez took a hack so overdone that he actually fouled the ball into his own helmet, which came tumbling off as he dropped to a knee and his other leg twirled into the air. Then, he showed what happens when one of those swings connects, sending a home run 429 feet to score two runs to make the score 3-2.
The win moved Weaver (7-10) to second on the Angels all-time win list with 138, tied with Nolan Ryan.
“It’s kind of weird to hear your name with a guy like that,” Weaver said. “But I think it just means I’ve been a part of some great teams here.”
Mike Trout was 0 for 2 and walked twice. In the morning before the game, Trout and Nike held an event to unveil Trout’s new “Lunar Trout 2" cleat. The Angels work to limit Trout’s commitments during the season, and the timing of this game-day event wasn’t ideal, with the Astros in town.
Trout appeared unaffected, and Scioscia said the timing didn’t matter. “He’s ready to play baseball every day,” Scioscia said. “Whenever it happens, it happens.”
Left-hander Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.24 earned-run average) will oppose Astros right-hander Lance McCullers (5-5, 3.07) at Angel Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.