The Astros sure do love playing in Anaheim. And over the past week, they've started to look like a legitimate ballclub. Solid starting AND relief pitching to go along with the bats heating up has led to the Astros going on a mini-hot streak
Sunday marked the fourth major league start for Brett Oberholtzer, and he has now gone at least six innings in all of them. The big lefty allowed three runs on seven hits in his six frames - his worst start of the year. That's pretty good evidence to how well Obie has thrown since becoming a part of the Astros' rotation. The 24-year old allowed a run in the second, third and fourth innings, but was able to keep the Angels scoreless until being pulled after the sixth.
Oberholtzer now has a 2.91 ERA through 34 innings this year.
The three runs that Oberholtzer gave up kept the game tied when he left as the Astros got the first career home run of L.J. Hoes' MLB days, a solo shot to center, in the first. Then in the second, the Astros loaded the bases with nobody out. Marwin Gonzalez grounded into the displeasing run-scoring double play (the Astros must lead the Majors in this category) to make it 2-0 Astros. But the rally wasn't over as Robbie Grossman laced an RBI double into left off Jason Vargas that staked Oberholtzer to a 3-0 lead.
It remained tied into the seventh inning when Hoes (3-for-4, two runs on the day; batting .317 for the season) singled to start the inning, then advanced to second on a bad pick off attempt by the Angels' Juan Gutierrez. The 23-year old outfielder just continues to make things happen. After a Chris Carter strikeout, Gutierrez intentionally walked Carlos Corporan to get to Matt Dominguez. Bad move.
Matty D put a great swing on a first pitch breaking ball that hung over the middle of the plate to blast a three-run bomb that landed in the further bullpen behind the left field wall. A Jose Altuve sac fly was all the Astros could muster in the top of the eighth despite having the bases loaded with one out, extending the Houston lead to 7-3. Dominguez had himself a monster game, going 4-for-5 with the bomb and two runs scored.
Jordan Lyles somewhat surprisingly got the call in relief of Oberholtzer and pitched a scoreless seventh. The eighth didn't go as well as Mark Trumbo connected on a two-run home run to bring the Astros lead to 7-5.
Astros manager Bo Porter decided to go with Lyles in the ninth and that didn't go well either as he walked the lead off hitter, Chris Ianetta, and then a one-out single to former Astro great J.B. Shuck to put runners on first and second. That was the end of Lyles day - finishing with a line of 2.1 innings, two hits, two runs to go with three walks.
Astros fans had to be bracing for the worst at this point, but @ChapStarr, better known as Kevin Chapman, came in and induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play by Peter Bourjos to end it. It was Chapman's first career save.
After not having a series win since mid-June, the Astros have won back-to-back three game sets and four of six games overall. The win also pushes the Astros to 9-7 on the year against the Angels....and 10-30 against the rest of the AL West.
Houston will continue their road trip against division foes by heading to Arlington tomorrow for a three-game battle with the Texas Rangers.