Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros Dominate Angels 6-3 in Series Opener

HOUSTON– Though the Houston Astros are one of the worst road teams in baseball in 2015, they are the best Home team in their league. That trend continued on Monday night as the Houston Astros took down Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels in a 6-1 victory at Minute Maid Park.

After an uneventful first inning for both sides, the Astros cracked the scoreboard and, quite possibly, the “Fowl Pole” in the second. After a one out walk to Colby Rasmus, Evan Gattis cranked his 26th homer of the year down the left field line, and off the pole, to give Houston a quick 2-0 lead.

Playing add-on in the third, shortstop Carlos Correa took an 0-2 fastball the opposite way into right-center field for his 19th homer of the season to score two more Houston runs. With the homer, Correa is now tied for fourth in franchise history for home runs hit as a rookie. Lance Berkman has the all-time lead with 21.

In the fifth, Houston added one more to their total as center fielder Jake Marisnick reached on a one-out walk by Weaver. He then advanced to second on a Jose Altuve single, and scored on a single from right fielder George Springer to give the Astros a 5-1 lead.

Dallas Keuchel continued his Minute Maid Park dominance with 7.2 innings of one-run baseball. Eric Aybar led-off the sixth inning with a single and moved up to second on a ground out from Kole Calhoun. Aybar scored two batters later on an Albert Pujols single back up the middle. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Keuchel was as crisp tonight as he’d been over his last outings.

“I thought his stuff was as good as it’s been in his last few starts,” Hinch said. “Even the inning they scored off of him in the sixth, it was soft single, soft out, soft single, and they scored a run on it.”

The Angels added two runs in the ninth to close the gap, but Luke Gregerson entered with two outs to retire the side and the Angels for a 6-3 Houston victory.

Keuchel struck out six Angels hitters in his 7.2 innings and only allowed one walk. The six strikeouts ties a Houston Astros franchise record for strikeouts in a single season by a lefty.

Houston got the Angels’ sixth inning run back in the seventh when Altuve hit a one-out triple and was followed two batters later by a Correa double to give Houston a 6-1 advantage.

“Against Weaver you want to be patient. He throws some pitches that look hittable, then they move just off the plate or just above or below the zone,” Hinch added about Jered Weaver. “He teases you and you have to be disciplined. I thought we did a better job today than any time we faced him this year.”

The Angels added a run off of Josh Fields, as David Murphy hit an RBI, pinch-hit single to center field to score David Freese to cut into the Astros’ lead at 6-2. Oliver Perez came in for Fields and gave up another RBI single to Collin Cowgill and again cut the lead to 6-3 as Murphy scored from second.

Both Altuve and Correa finished the game one hit away from the cycle; Altuve needed a home run, and Correa lacked a triple.

With the win, Houston was able to gain a half-game on both the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers who were inactive. Houston also inched closer to the Yankees who currently sit in the first Wild Card spot.

Houston and the LA Angels will be back at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday for the second of four games in Houston. First pitch between Lance McCullers and Hector Santiago is set for 7:10 PM.

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