HOUSTON -- After having capitalized on late-inning opportunities while winning four consecutive games on the road, the Houston Astros showcased on Monday night an impressive ability to strike early when their chances were few and far between.
Alex Bregman tallied his third multi-hit game in his last five starts, Jose Altuve posted his first multi-RBI game and the Astros extended their win streak to five games with a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park.
Bregman, filling in for injured shortstop Carlos Correa, went 2-for-3 with an RBI single in the second inning that plated Evan Gattis and provided right-hander Charlie Morton (1-1) all the run support needed for his first win with the Astros.
"Any time there's a close game, there's a little more pressure, but those are the types of games we like to play in," Bregman said. "If you're going to be a good team, you have to win the close ones, and Charlie did a great job tonight."
Altuve had a sacrifice fly in the third inning that scored George Springer and an RBI double in the eighth off Yusmeiro Petit that brought home Josh Reddick, who opened that inning with a double. Reddick finished 3-for-4.
The Angels dropped their sixth consecutive game and second straight via shutout. They wasted a strong start from right-hander Jesse Chavez (1-2), who allowed two runs, seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts in seven innings.
"I gave us a chance. That's all," Chavez said. "Being able to give us a chance and with our offense they're capable of anything. Last two games haven't worked our way, but we put ourselves in position to have a chance."
The Angels finished 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position, stranded nine baserunners, and have totaled just nine runs during their skid.
"I don't think it's pressing, but you're always trying to keep your finger on the pulse of what the frustration level is," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's been a week where we're having trouble getting that hit we need. I think the process is right it's just one of those times right now where we're not getting enough guys on base early in innings and getting that big hit. That's what we need."
That Morton posted five scoreless innings was a feat of sleight of hand, as he found trouble two outs into the first inning and failed to produce a clean frame.
Morton stranded two baserunners in the first, left the bases loaded in the second and left runners on the corners in the third. He induced fly-ball outs from C.J. Cron and Ben Revere to escape the first and second. Andrelton Simmons lined out to third to cap the third.
Altuve was key defensively in the fourth, turning an inning-ending double play that erased Martin Maldonado after a one-out single. Morton allowed five hits and two walks while striking out three. He wasn't sharp, but he left with the lead.
On those rare moments Chavez flinched, the Astros didn't squander their shot. Springer went first to third on a Reddick single in the third to set the table for Altuve, whose opposite-field fly ball to right doubled the Houston lead to 2-0.
"Oftentimes you've got to take a small advantage when you can," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They look small in the grand scheme of things, but they're winning plays. Our guys being able to feed off that ... those are all pressure points for the opponent and we've been able to do that recently."
Astros right-handers Chris Devenski, Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles combined to work four scoreless innings with seven strikeouts. Giles posted his third save.
NOTES: Astros SS Carlos Correa was held out of the starting lineup as he continues to deal with residual soreness after being hit by a pitch in the left hand Saturday in Oakland. Correa was originally slated to return to action, but the club deemed additional rest as beneficial. ... Angels DH Albert Pujols was given the day off, his first this season. Manager Mike Scioscia plans to periodically get Pujols, batting .200 with one home run and eight RBIs, "off his feet." ... The Astros reworked their rotation after a rainout postponed their series finale in Oakland on Sunday. LHP Dallas Keuchel and RHP Lance McCullers will stay on schedule and pitch the final two games against the Angels. RHP Mike Fiers will have his start bumped back to Friday at Tampa Bay against the Rays.