Angels Light Fiers; Drub Houston 9-1

Valbuena: Celebrates HR in 1st
(c) Associated Press
You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
We should be starting Michael Fiers

Anaheim has lit our Fiers
Anaheim has lit Mike Fiers
Anaheim has lit our Fiers...

- with apologies to the late Jim Morrison

I had eight full innings to rattle that Sixties classic tune in my head Wednesday night as Fiers and the Astros were out of this game early, 9-1, at the Big A. Four doubles and a home run in the first inning put Anaheim ahead to stay, 5-0, as Houston's anemic bats continued against lefty Tyler Skaggs.

Three more runs in the fourth and a solo homer from Justin Upton in the sixth off Tyler Clippard extended the rout. Houston's only response was a double from late reserve Tyler White who came around to score in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Max Stassi - two players unlikely to be on the postseason roster.

Former Astro Luis Valbuena cracked his 20th homer of the season back in the first inning.

Skaggs limited the current Astros to three hits and a walk over seven frames. The impotent Houston lineup has now scored nine runs in their last five games and are 18-22 in their past 40 games.

The Angels believe they have something to play for, just two games behind Minnesota for the last wild card spot. They certainly haven't quit.

Houston may be without outfielder Jake Marisnick for the rest of the season. He slid into second base back in the third inning attempting to extend a single into a double and injured his right thumb during the slide. A fuller evaluation will be made back in Houston but, from Manager A.J. Hinch's non-medical description ("It doesn't look good"), the Astros may feel relieved about acquiring Cameron Maybin on waivers from the Angels who can do many of the late-inning roles that Marisnick did well.

Meanwhile, the Astros close out a bad California trip Thursday night at 9:07 Central when Brad Peacock (10-2) tries to win the Anaheim series. Ricky Nolasco (6-13) gets the nod for the Halos. The former Marlin is 7-2 lifetime against Houston.

- Bob Hulsey