Altuve drives in career best 5 runs
The Astros moved back into a tie for first place Tuesday night with a 10-5 trouncing of the Orange County Angels of Southern California. Hank Conger had a big game against his former team, going 2 for 3 and scoring three runs.
Collin McHugh struggled mightily, coughing up five runs on seven hits and four walks in five innings pitched. But the Astros offense came to life, scoring six times in the first five frames, to make McHugh a winner. A 4-run sixth against reliever Mike Morin provided the icing on the cake.
After the Angels plated a pair of runs in the top of the first, Carlos Correa got things started for the Astros. The shortstop's ninth homer of the year cut the lead in half. In the top of the second the Angels gave starting pitcher C.J. Wilson two more runs to work with. But the Anaheim lefty couldn't harness his control. A hit batsman, a Chris Carter homer, and another hit batsman helped Houston tie the game in the bottom half of the inning.
A Chris Ianetta home run in the third was a sure-fire sign that it wasn't going to be McHugh's night. But a fourth inning rally started by Conger saw the Astros surge ahead to stay. Jose Altuve's 2-out single scored Conger from second and Jake Marisnick dashed home with the go-ahead run while Altuve was caught in a rundown between first and second. Credited with two RBIs on the play, Altuve drove in a career high five for the game.
Four Houston relievers teamed up to shut down the opposition over the last four innings. Josh Fields, Will Harris, Chad Qualls, and Tony Sipp managed to do what Morin could not. The stellar relief pitching helped McHugh notch his 12th win of the season.
Also of note, Evan Gattis had an RBI triple in the sixth. It was the seventh three-bagger of the year for Gattis, who had only one career triple entering the season. Marisnick had his 14th stolen base of the year and Altuve raised his average to .305 with a 3 for 5 effort.
The battle for first place in the West continues Wednesday when the Astros send Lance McCullers Jr. to the mound against Garrett Richards in a 7:10 CDT start.
- Greg Thurston