Mike Trout homers in fifth straight game to tie team mark, but Angels lose to Astros
The Houston Astros have plugged in different players in center field this season hoping one would get going at the plate and show he can contribute as the team looks toward another deep playoff run.
Jeremy Pena hit a solo homer in the sixth inning, and McCormick’s shot in the seventh put the Astros on top.
Houston manager Dusty Baker was asked about the importance of McCormick stepping up offensively.
“That’s mandatory,” he said. “That’s necessary. So that’s about how I match them up to try to have them in the position to succeed. And that was good to see tonight.”
The Astros trailed by one run entering the seventh when Trey Mancini led off with a single. McCormick then connected on his homer off Andrew Wantz (2-1) to put Houston ahead 3-2.
“We kind of came out a little slow offensively, but that’s why you get the full nine innings to get the bats going,” McCormick said. “The home run felt really good, swing felt really good, and I was happy about the win.”
The Astros added an insurance run in the eighth when McCormick drew a bases-loaded walk off Jose Marte.
Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1) gave up four hits and two runs and struck out six in a season-high seven innings for his second straight win.
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It was just the fifth start of the season for McCullers, who missed the first four months of the season because of a forearm injury.
“I’ve been looking forward to being a little more efficient and to be able to dip into that 100-plus [pitch] range,” he said. “And they gave me the opportunity tonight. So I’m glad that I executed when I needed to and finished strong.”
Closer Ryan Pressly gave up a solo homer to Taylor Ward with one out in the ninth before striking out the next two batters to get his 26th save. Pressly returned from the injured list after being out since Aug. 22 because of a neck strain.
The only damage the Angels did against McCullers was a two-run homer by Mike Trout that made it 2-0 in the sixth. It was the fifth consecutive game in which Trout has homered — the longest streak of his career and tying a franchise record.
“He hasn’t hit well in this park,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “So to see him get one out of here was nice.”
Trout tied Bobby Bonds, who homered in five straight games Aug. 2-7, 1977, for the longest streak in Angels history. It was Trout’s 33rd homer to tie him with teammate Shohei Ohtani for the second-most home runs in the American League behind Aaron Judge, who has 55 for the New York Yankees.
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The Astros had managed just one hit off Michael Lorenzen when Pena homered into the seats in right field to cut the Angels’ lead to 2-1 with one out in the sixth.
Lorenzen gave up three hits, one run and four walks in his return after he missed 56 games because of a strained right shoulder.
“I thought his stuff was good,” Nevin said. “He made some really good pitches tonight against a really good lineup, and that was good to see.”
Lorenzen struggled with control early, and his third walk of the second inning loaded the bases with two outs. But Martin Maldonado grounded into a forceout to allow Lorenzen to escape the jam. Lorenzen walked Alex Bregman to start the fourth but still faced the minimum in that inning when Bregman was caught stealing for the third out.
The Astros didn’t get a hit until McCormick singled to start the fifth inning. He was erased when David Hensley grounded into a double play before Lorenzen retired Maldonado to end the inning.
The impressive evolution of Shohei Ohtani’s new sinker was on display Saturday against the Houston Astros, showcasing another ‘difference-making pitch.’
Angels: Outfielder Mickey Moniak was reinstated from the injured list before Friday’s game. He had missed 29 games because of a fractured middle finger on his left hand. Right-hander Touki Toussaint was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake City and outfielder Ryan Aguilar was designated for assignment to make room for Moniak and Lorenzen on the roster. ... Catcher Max Stassi was removed from the game in the seventh inning as a precaution after taking a foul tip off his mask.
Astros: Right-hander Brandon Bielak was optioned to triple-A Sugar Land to free up a roster spot for Pressly.
Ohtani (11-8, 2.58) starts for the Angels against Jose Urquidy (13-5, 3.51) when the series continues Saturday night.
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