Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Astros rally, make great escape to top Halos

 Jose Altuve extended his Major League-best on-base streak to a career-high 30 games and Carlos Correa drove home the winning run as the Astros beat the Angels, 4-2, in a comeback victory on Monday night.
Correa, who had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning against reliever Fernando Salas, knocked a sacrifice fly to right to bring in the go-ahead run, and steady Astros relieverWill Harris pitched his way out of a bases-loaded, no-outs jam in the bottom of the frame to seal the win. Houston has now won seven of its last eight games.
"He loves the big moment and he's pretty calm under pressure," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Correa. "He knows how to get runs in from third base, whether it be with a hit, the sac fly -- opposite field on a 3-0 count -- that's a mature approach and way to win the game."
Harris has converted all seven save chances since taking over as closer, but none bigger than this one.
"That was the biggest test to date for him, where he had to bail out a little bit of his teammates, a little bit of himself," Hinch said. "It was a really good night to end on a win based on how the game went. They were in control early, we got to their 'pen late, and then Will cements it with an unusual double play."
Angels right-hander Matt Shoemaker was brilliant again, wrapping up the month of June with a 2.14 ERA after six scoreless innings. He finished the month without a statistical win, the first American League pitcher to post a sub-2.50 ERA and go winless in a month since Sidney Ponson in 2002. The Astros quickly jumped on the Angels' bullpen for two runs in the seventh, tying the game, 2-2, before taking the lead for good in the ninth.
Astros righty Collin McHugh managed trouble, giving up little after a Mike Trout homer in the fourth inning. He gave up two runs and scattered six hits in six innings, picking up the no-decision following the team's seventh-inning rally. 
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Altuve streak hits 30: Altuve extended his on-base streak to 30 games by going 2-for-5. The streak, which is the longest current streak in the Majors, is the longest by an Astros player since the speedy Willy Taveras reached in 31 consecutive games, July 27 to Aug. 29, 2006, which included his club-record 30-game hitting streak. He's hitting .405 during the streak and has hit safely in 29 of those games. More >
"It's crazy," Altuve said. "I hope I can do 30 more. Anything I can do to help the team and keep them in the games, I'm going to do it."
Trout goes yard: Trout homered for the third straight game on Monday, taking a McHugh curveball that was less than a foot off the ground and golfing it a Statcast-projected 415 feet away to open the scoring in the fourth inning. It was the lowest pitch hit for a home run sinceFreddy Galvis on April 28, 2013. It was the second time in Trout's career that he's homered three days in a row, with the other time being Sept. 16-18 against Oakland. He also registered his third consecutive game with at least three hits by adding a pair of doubles.
"[Mike]'s got a great idea of the strike zone, first of all, but when there are pitches that look like they are ankle high or even above the waist, he's getting to them," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's just a special player."
Shoemaker's winless run: Shoemaker extended his incredible run of fine pitching to eight games, working six scoreless innings and striking out six before exiting with 99 pitches. His ERA has dropped from 8.49 to 4.12 since May 16, and he's posted a 1.87 ERA since May 21. During this run, he has posted a 0.98 ERA at home (five starts), becoming the second pitcher in the Majors this season to post 45 or more strikeouts and five or fewer walks in a month (Clayton Kershaw, May). However, he hasn't earned a win since May 27. More >
Harris escapes: After Johnny Giavotella reached on a strikeout-wild pitch, Harris allowed two consecutive singles before striking out Jett Bandy and getting Andrelton Simmons to hit into a 1-2-3 game-ending double play. Harris lowered his ERA to 0.80.
QUOTABLE
"Some day you got into the fight and you think you have a sniper rifle, and everything is sharp and good and it's easy. Some days you go out there and you have a pocketknife, and today was one of those pocketknife days." -- McHugh
HIGHLIGHT REEL
Astros right fielder George Springer thought he had a single up the middle to bring in a pair of runs and tie the game in the seventh inning, but instead settled for a RBI groundout as Angels shortstop Simmons ranged 51 feet to barehand the ball and throw him out in one fluid motion.
"Just trying to get a ground ball," he said. "I felt good, you know. I hadn't thrown in a while so I felt pretty fresh, my arm felt pretty good, my curveball pretty sharp. I made good pitches to Giavotella and [Jefry Marte]] shot me in the four-hole with the shift. I still thought I was doing alright. I made a bad pitch to [Daniel] Nava, but I was pretty confident I would be able to keep the ball on the infield for the next couple of hitters and maybe get a double play."
CAUGHT SLIPPING
Trout looked like he had a surefire triple after his blooper fell just inside the right field foul line in the sixth inning, but tripped as he rounded second base and had to settle for a double. He quickly went over and nudged Astros second baseman Altuve, who had a similar incident on Saturday night. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Correa has five go-ahead RBIs in the ninth inning or later this season.
UNDER FURTHER REVIEW
Astros third baseman Luis Valbuena thought he had tied the game at one apiece, taking Shoemaker out to right field for a solo home run. The play was reviewed, as Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun immediately thought the ball did not go over the wall. The ruling was overturned after a one minute, 33-second review, and Valbuena was awarded a ground-rule double. He wouldn't score in the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT
Astros: 
Veteran right-hander Scott Feldman will return to the rotation to start Tuesday's 9:05 p.m. CT game against the Angels in place of right-hander Lance McCullers, who has developed a blister on the tip of his right index finger. Feldman went 0-2 with a 4.58 ERA in four starts at the beginning of the year before being moved to bullpen.
Angels: Right-hander Tim Lincecum (1-1, 5.00) is looking to do better than his last time out, when he gave up four runs in three innings and picked up a 5-4 loss to Oakland in his home debut as an Angel. He said he hopes to be able to get his mechanics corrected on his surgically repaired left hip, which caused him to throw almost exclusively fastballs and changeups against the A's. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. PT.

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