Late in a mostly miserable season, the young Houston Astros are showing some life on the West Coast.
Chris Carter hit a three-run homer and drove in a career-high five runs, and Brad Peacock didn't allow an earned run while pitching into the seventh inning of the Astros' 8-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Robbie Grossman drove in a run and scored during a three-run fifth for the major league-worst Astros (40-81), who have won three of four for the first time since June 18. A rebuilding season is finally paying some dividends for Houston, and it helps to be in Orange County: Houston has won six of eight at the Big A during its first season in the AL West, even sweeping a four-game series in early June.
"I don't know why we do so good against them, but we're playing hard and having fun," said Carter, who hit his 23rd homer in the ninth inning. "I don't even think about (the career high). It's nice to have a game like that and get going again."
The Astros hadn't won another road series until earlier this week, when they took two of three in Oakland.
Peacock (2-4) earned his first victory since April 10, yielding four hits and two unearned runs while striking out five. The rookie has allowed just four earned runs in 19 1-3 innings over three starts since returning from Triple-A Oklahoma City, but received two hard-luck losses before this gem.
"I had everything tonight," Peacock said. "That's the best I've felt since I got back up here."
Hank Conger drove in a run during his first multihit game since June 30 for the foundering Angels. They've lost five of six and 15 of 21 overall, including five straight at home.
At least Mike Trout reached base in his 38th straight game, extending the second-longest streak in Angels history. The All-Star outfielder also reached over the left-field fence to steal a homer from Brandon Barnes in the second inning.
"We didn't get many good looks at Peacock," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched a strong game into the seventh for them. The few chances we had, we just couldn't get a hit to get us right back into it."
Grant Green got the first run-scoring hit of his major league career for the Angels, but Jerome Williams (5-9) extended his skid to 11 straight winless starts to open this matchup of the AL West's bottom two teams.
After Carter had a sacrifice fly in the fifth and a run-scoring single in the seventh, he and Matt Dominguez connected off Joe Blanton for the Astros' fourth back-to-back homers this season. Carter has struggled with plate discipline at times in his first full major league season, but he's leading the Astros in homers and RBIs.
"It's nights like this that remind you why you keep putting him in there," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "It's power that can change any game."
Williams, 0-7 during his winless skid, yielded five hits and four walks before getting chased in the fifth by Jason Castro's bases-loaded walk.
"I don't really feel frustrated at all," Williams said. "Things haven't been going my way, so what can I do? I just have to keep going out there and trying to get people out."
After four scoreless innings in which Williams had to work much harder than Peacock, Houston finally scored on three straight hits to open the fifth, with Grossman driving in L.J. Hoes. Jose Altuve and Castro then drew walks during difficult plate appearances, with Castro forcing in a run on Williams' 99th pitch.
The Angels chased Peacock with three straight hits, including Green's RBI single. Green, the Anaheim native acquired in a recent trade with Oakland, has been batting over .400 with the Angels, but hadn't driven in a run.
Josh Hamilton went 0 for 4, returning to his miserable home form after the Angels' $125 million slugger went 11 for 29 over the past week.
Angels right-hander Kevin Jepsen left the mound in the seventh after Dominguez's liner hit him in the pitching hand, leaving a bruise.
NOTES: Houston RHP Chia-Jen Lo pitched the ninth, making his seventh straight scoreless appearance to open his major league career. ... The Angels wore their 1989 softball-style jerseys and blue caps on '80s Night at the Big A. ... Los Angeles 1B Albert Pujols is out of the walking boot on his injured left foot, but still doesn't know whether he'll return to the lineup this season. The three-time MVP slugger has said he would return if healthy, even if the Angels' season is essentially over. ... The Angels activated CF Peter Bourjos before the game, ending his second lengthy stint on the disabled list. Bourjos broke his right wrist June 29 against Houston.