Houston blasts Lincecum, routs Angels 7-1 for 9th win in 10
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) While the Houston Astros are rocketing up the AL standings, the Los Angeles Angels are plummeting at roughly the same rate of speed.
Tim Lincecum tried to change things Tuesday night, but both teams kept going their separate ways.
Carlos Correa hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and the Astros beat Lincecum and the Angels 7-1 for their ninth win in 10 games.
Correa went 3 for 4 and matched his career high with four RBIs as Houston easily improved to 34-20 since May 1. The Astros also beat the Angels for the seventh straight time, their longest winning streak in the rivalry's history.
''We expect to win the way we're playing, which is good,'' Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. ''We do have a nice little vibe about us, a little swagger. We've got our confidence back.''
Scott Feldman (5-3) yielded three hits in five innings to win his first start since April 24 for the Astros. Feldman was a stopgap starter after making 16 appearances out of the bullpen over the past two months, but he kept Houston moving flawlessly forward while allowing no earned runs or walks.
''I've been doing the bullpen thing, so I had to try to remember my routine for (starting),'' said Feldman, a starter for most of the previous eight seasons. ''But it was a lot of fun.''
Albert Pujols' third-inning single drove in the only run for last-place Los Angeles (32-46), which has lost eight of nine. Before the game, general manager Billy Eppler said manager Mike Scioscia's job is not in jeopardy with the Angels, whose injury-riddled starting rotation has been their biggest obstacle.
Lincecum (1-2) couldn't get through the fifth inning in his third start for the Angels, yielding seven hits, four walks and five runs. It was the two-time Cy Young winner's second straight bumpy outing after a promising debut.
''My fastball command was pretty terrible,'' Lincecum said. ''I didn't get a chance to establish the zone and work around that. I felt myself becoming one-dimensional again with my changeup and not really finding a way out. That team is a good hitting team. They punched the balls when they were up in the zone and made me pay for it.''
Lincecum has a 6.75 ERA after three starts for the Angels, who signed the longtime San Francisco Giants star to patch that rotation. While he struck out seven Astros, he also struggled with control - throwing just 55 strikes in 101 pitches - and served up too many hittable balls to the Astros' surging lineup.
Lincecum was in trouble again after four Houston batters. He started with a four-pitch walk to George Springer, and Jose Altuve also drew a four-pitch walk before Correa put his 13th homer far over the left field fence. Correa had never faced Lincecum before that shot.
''I knew he was going to try to throw some changeups and get me to chase,'' Correa said. ''It's big to score early in the game.''
Marwin Gonzalez tripled in the fourth and scored on Carlos Gomez's double. Colby Rasmus' one-out single in the fifth chased Lincecum, and Gonzalez bunted home Houston's fifth run moments later.
Astros: Feldman filled in for RHP Lance McCullers, whose rotation turn was skipped due to a blister. McCullers expects to return Monday for his next start, although Feldman wouldn't mind another shot. ''I love starting,'' Feldman said. ''But I also love being on this team, and we're winning a lot of games right now.''
Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar missed another game with a bone bruise in his left knee. Scioscia hopes he is available Friday in Boston. ... C Geovany Soto is closing in on a rehab assignment after working out in the bullpen Tuesday. He has been out since mid-May after knee surgery.
Astros: Dallas Keuchel (4-9, 5.35 ERA) beat Kansas City last week for his first win in five June starts, but the AL Cy Young winner's weird season continues.
Angels: Jered Weaver (6-6, 5.24 ERA) has been solid in recent weeks, but had a rough outing against Oakland earlier in this homestand. He has a 3.26 ERA in 10 career games against Houston.