Houston Astros dump Los Angeles Angels, stay near top in AL

By MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 23, 2017 at 9:59 PM
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HOUSTON -- Carlos Correa recorded his first three-hit game since returning from the disabled list and teamed with Evan Gattis to pace the Houston Astros to a 6-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.

Correa finished 3-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs, posting his fifth three-hit game and sixth game with three-plus RBIs. Correa got the Astros (95-59) on the board with a run-scoring single in the first inning before adding a two-out RBI double in the fifth and a RBI single in the seventh.

Gattis followed the Correa double in the fifth with a three-run homer for his 12th on the season. The Astros' four-run rally came against right-hander Eduardo Paredes, who relieved Angels starter Bud Norris (2-6) with one out in the fourth inning. Gattis also posted three RBIs.

Astros right-hander Charlie Morton (13-7) capitalized on the early lead by producing one of his most efficient starts en route to allowing just one run on four hits over seven strong innings.

Morton faced the minimum over his first five innings, including a pair of inning-ending double plays to erase singles by Albert Pujols in the second inning and Brandon Phillips in the fifth. Morton had just 42 pitches on his ledger entering the sixth, completing the second and third innings on nine pitches each while tossing five pitches in the fourth inning and eight in the fifth.

Angels left fielder Justin Upton ended the shutout bid with his leadoff home run in the seventh inning, his 33rd on the season. Upton added his 34th homer leading off the ninth against Astros reliever Will Harris for his 16th career multi-homer game.

The Angels (76-78) mustered just five hits total while suffering their sixth consecutive defeat with the second American League wild card on the line.

The Astros have won eight of nine and will pursue a series sweep on Sunday. Houston is 36 games over .500 for the first time since concluding the 1998 campaign with a 102-60 record.

NOTES: Facing a noon start following a night game, Astros manager A.J. Hinch rested a number of regulars, including OF George Springer, 2B Jose Altuve, C Brian McCann and DH Carlos Beltran. With Springer, OF Josh Reddick (back) and Altuve unavailable, 3B Alex Bregman hit leadoff for just the second time this season. ... When Angels LF Justin Upton opened the seventh inning with a home run to left field, it snapped a string of 23 scoreless innings for Los Angeles. ... With his second double of the game, Astros 2B Marwin Gonzalez pushed the Astros' season total to 326 doubles, which matched the franchise record set in 1998.

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