Altuve, Gonzalez help Astros past Angels 3-2
HOUSTON (AP) When the Houston Astros sent Tyler White to the minors on Friday it left utility infielder Marwin Gonzalez as the team's best option at first base.
So far he's made the most of his opportunity, and came through again on Wednesday to help Houston to its fifth straight win.
Jose Altuve homered and Gonzalez hit a tiebreaking RBI triple in the eighth inning of a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
''He's playing really well,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''I think the everyday at-bats have helped. He's taken care of the body. I don't know if he's played this much in a two-week span in his entire career, but he's played good defense, he's put up good at-bats.''
Gonzalez, who has appeared at second base, third base, shortstop and left field this season, has seven hits, three RBIs and has scored five runs in the six games since he took over at first base.
''I just want to be in there and help with whatever I can,'' he said. ''That's not my decision to play or not. I just have to be ready every day.''
Altuve is a big fan of Gonzalez and is glad to see him getting more playing time.
''It kind of gets me mad a little bit when he's not in the lineup,'' Altuve said. ''I try to get him in the lineup because I know what he's capable (of).''
George Springer singled with one out before Gonzalez hit a towering fly ball just to the right of straightaway center field off Matt Shoemaker (3-8).
Shane Robinson sprinted up Tal's Hill to grab it, but it sailed just out of his reach before Robinson crashed into the padded wall, allowing Springer to score and make it 2-1. The hill was supposed to be removed this offseason, but the construction was pushed back indefinitely.
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia is not a fan of the hill.
''(It's) absolutely a safety thing, there's no doubt,'' Scioscia said. ''I just think if you go talk to anybody there's absolutely not a player in baseball that wouldn't say get that thing out of there. So I hope they do.''
Houston added an insurance run on a groundout by Carlos Correa in the eighth.
Will Harris allowed a run-scoring single by Kole Calhoun with one out in the ninth, but Yunel Escobar was out at second on the play. Harris then retired Mike Trout for his sixth save. Luke Gregerson (2-1) struck out one in a scoreless eighth for the win.
Escobar's RBI single gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the third and Altuve's homer tied it in the sixth.
Shoemaker allowed eight hits and three runs in 7 1/3 innings for his third straight loss.
The Astros are beginning to heat up after a poor start, and have won seven of the past eight games and 20 of their past 28.
Houston starter Lance McCullers allowed six hits and one run with six strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
The Astros tied it at 1-all when Altuve hit one high on the wall in left-center with one out in the sixth inning.
Jett Bandy singled to start the third before Robinson drew a walk. Bandy slid to beat the throw home and scored on the single by Escobar to put Los Angeles up 1-0. Trout walked with one out to load the bases, but McCullers worked out of the jam by striking out Cron and Johnny Giavotella.
Angels: 1B Albert Pujols missed his second straight game on Wednesday with an injured left hamstring. Scioscia said it's too soon to be thinking about placing him on the disabled list and that he's day to day with the injury. ''When I'm good, I'm good and I'm going to play,'' Pujols said. ''Right now I'm not going to take my chances.''
The Astros signed Forrest Whitley, their first-round pick in this year's draft on Wednesday. Whitley, who was the 17th overall pick, was 9-1 with a 0.31 ERA this season for Alamo Heights high school in San Antonio.
Angels: Tim Lincecum (1-0, 1.50) will start for Los Angeles when they open a four-game series at Oakland on Thursday. Lincecum won his debut with the team by allowing four hits and one earned run in six innings of a 7-1 victory at Oakland on Saturday.
Astros: The Astros are off on Thursday before Dallas Keuchel (3-9, 5.32) starts on Friday in the opener of a three-game series at Kansas City. Last year's AL Cy Young Award winner is trying to get back on track after dropping his past three decisions and eight of his past nine.