Altuve, Springer help Astros beat Angels 8-5
HOUSTON (AP) The Astros' solid pitching needed a little help against the Los Angeles Angels.
Houston's offense was able to provide that support.
Jose Altuve and George Springer drove in two runs each during Houston's four-run eighth inning as the Astros pulled away for an 8-5 win Thursday night.
Altuve had two hits, including a two-run double in the eighth, and Springer finished with three RBIs for the Astros, who drew eight walks. Dexter Fowler also had two hits and went 6 for 11 in the three-game series.
''It's not a secret that we have been playing better baseball lately,'' Altuve said. ''The hitters are doing their job, the pitchers have been doing tremendous, we have been playing really good defense. It seems like we are putting everything together, going out there and playing hard and we are winning the games.''
Altuve and Springer both came through with two outs in the eighth.
''It was the game,'' Springer said of the pair of two-run hits. ''To able to score four in the bottom of the eighth was deflating. Two-out RBIs at any stage of the game are clutch. Teams that can drive guys in with two outs are great teams.''
Brad Peacock (2-4) allowed three runs and six hits with a strikeout in five innings. Over his last three starts, Peacock has given up four runs in 17 2-3 innings.
''I was battling all night,'' Peacock said. ''I didn't really have anything. The bullpen picked me up tonight. The hitters picked me up, too. I was just battling all night. I couldn't find my fastball the first couple innings. I kind of settled down in the third, but I have to do a better job of commanding my fastball and my off-speed.''
Chad Qualls quieted an Angels rally in the ninth for his sixth save. The Houston bullpen threw four innings, allowing just the two runs in the ninth.
''The bullpen did a tremendous job,'' Houston manager Bo Porter said. ''I felt like Peacock, he really struggled through five and once we got him out there in the fifth inning with the pitch count close to 90 we felt like turning it over to our bullpen at the time, we had the matchups that we wanted.''
Mike Trout had two hits, including a double and a triple, and Chris Iannetta had three hits for the Angels, who have lost five of their last six games.
Trout was the designated hitter after missing three of the last four games with back problems. He started in the opening game of this series, but left in the second inning because of his back.
Trout said he felt good and expected to return to the field Friday.
''It never tightened up, nothing,'' Trout said. ''I didn't feel really anything. I stretched it really well between at-bats but I think running around in center field will keep it loose, too.''
After Houston's four-run eighth put it ahead 8-3, Erick Aybar drew a bases loaded walk and Collin Cowgill grounded into a fielder's choice to pull the Angels within three. Qualls then struck out Trout and got Albert Pujols to pop up to first to end the game.
Four of the eight walks issued by the Angels came in the eighth by Cam Bedrosian, who was called up from Double-A earlier this week, setting up Altuve and Springer's hits.
''We've got some power arms down there and there's going to be some walks occasionally,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''Sometimes that goes with the territory. I think we've gotten better. We just - some things got away from us tonight.
''We walked what eight runners tonight? That's a lot of runners to put on base.''
Tyler Skaggs (4-4) allowed four runs and six hits with four strikeouts in five innings while losing his third straight start.
''Of course it's frustrating,'' Skaggs said. ''They had some good at-bats tonight. They put the ball in play and things happen when you put the ball in play. You never know. The infield singles in the first inning were definitely frustrating.''
Los Angeles trailed by three before Aybar's RBI single and Trout's run-scoring double made it 4-3 in the fifth.
Houston took the lead with a three-run fourth. Robbie Grossman drove in a run on a squeeze bunt. Carlos Corporan and Fowler followed with RBI singles to make it 4-1.
The Angels went ahead 1-0 in the top of the first on Pujols' sacrifice fly.
Springer had a sacrifice fly of his own to tie it in the bottom of the inning.
NOTES: The Angels worked out Trout in the afternoon before putting him back in the lineup. Scioscia said Trout felt good swinging in the cage and that he expects him to play in the field Friday. ... Houston SS Jonathan Villar was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game on Thursday after being hit on the right elbow by a pitch on Tuesday night. However, he pinch-ran in the eighth. Manager Bo Porter said he was feeling better on Thursday and is day to day. ... Los Angeles OF Raul Ibanez broke an 0-for-16 slump with a single in the sixth inning. ... Houston selected 17-year old left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken with the first overall pick in Thursday's MLB draft.