Houston Astros righty Collin McHugh shut down the powerful offense of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Wednesday night. McHugh held Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and friends to only four hits in 7 & 2/3 innings of work. The Angels only run of the night came across the plate when shortstop Jonathan Villar booted what should have been an inning-ending double-play ball in the top of the third.
After Villar’s error, McHugh retired ten straight Angels. McHugh used 96 pitches to strike out eight L.A. of A. hitters. He didn’t allow a walk in the game. Jose Veras got a fastball in on the hands of Trout to get a popup and end the eighth inning. Chad Qualls pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 17th save. A single by Josh Hamilton with two outs in the fifth accounted for the only Angels baserunner after the third inning.
Chris Carter put the Astros on top 1-0 with a solo homer to the Crawford Boxes leading off the second. Jason Castro broke a 1-1 tie by singling home Dexter Fowler in the fourth. Jose Altuve and Carter teamed up for a couple of insurance runs in the eight. After Altuve drove a double down the leftfield line, Carter smashed an opposite field homerun. Carter’s homer snapped a 13 game scoreless streak for Angels reliever Fernando Salas. It was the seventh muti-homer game for Carter this season, an Astros record.
McHugh was simply brilliant. He used an assortment of breaking pitches and his 93 m.p.h. fastball to keep the Angels off balance. The Astros starter outpitched his counterpart, 15-game winner Jered Weaver.McHugh picked up his fourth straight win and eighth overall. Weaver was saddled with his eighth loss of the season.
The win earned the Astros a sweep of the short 2-game series against the division leaders. Anaheim came to town riding a 6-game winning streak. They leave on a 2-game losing streak.The Astros, on the other hand, have now won four in a row.
For the Astros it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire. The club now travels to Oakland where they start a 3-game series Friday night. Brett Oberholtzer goes up against Jeff Samardzija in the Opener.