Strong pitching and solid hitting push Astros ahead of Angels in the standings.
submitted by Sphinx Drummond
The Announcers like to talk about a play-off atmosphere surrounding Astros games of late. It’s exciting but there is still a ways to go. In the meantime the Astros are keeping in position for a nice run as the season winds down. Lance McCullers was solid in his seven innings, allowing 5 hits and 1 run. He picked up 5 strikeouts and walked none while picking up his 5th victory against 3 losses. Pat Neshek pitched the 8th without harm but Luke Gregerson struggled in the ninth giving up 2 runs and allowing the tying run to the plate before closing the door and securing the victory.
The Angels took an early 1 to nothing lead with a run in the third but that would be all until the ninth. The Astros took the lead with two runs in the fifth when Luis Valbuena scored on Rasmus’ sac fly, then a few batters later Hank Conger scored on Jose Altuve’s infield single. Some poor base running ended the inning with Preston Tucker at the plate. Tucker lead off the sixth inning with a solo dinger to stretch the lead to 3-1.
Jon Singleton finally hit his first homer of the season, a laser shot to the bullpen in the seventh inning that made the score 4-1. The Astros added a couple of insurance runs in the 8th inning giving them a 6-1 lead heading into the ninth.
This is the latest the Astros have been atop their division since Sept. 21, 2003, when they led the NL Central. The Astros have spent 92 days in 1st place this season, including a run from April 19-July 11, while the Angels have spent 21 days in 1st. Of course first place is just a position in the standings that is only meaningful at the end of the season, but still…
Thursday the Astros try to complete the three game sweep when the Angels with send Matt Shoemaker (5-7 4.55 ERA) to the mound to face Scott Kazmir (6-5 2.24 ERA) in a 7:10 pm CST start. Promotions: Coca-Cola Value Days and Young Professionals Night.
Game Time: 2:50