Astros slug season-high 5 homers to rout Angels 9-1

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve (27) is congratulated by Michael Brantley (23) after hitting a home run against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, May 12, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (David J. Phillip, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

HOUSTON – José Altuve and Yuli Gurriel homered early as the Houston Astros hit a season-high five long balls Wednesday night in a 9-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Altuve launched a leadoff homer and Gurriel, who also went deep Tuesday, added his two-run shot later in the first inning. Kyle Tucker also connected for a second straight game when he smacked another two-run drive off Andrew Heaney (1-3) in the sixth to make it 5-0.

“Guys are getting good pitches to hit and keeping pitchers in the stretch," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Hitting’s contagious and just keep them coming."

Houston starter José Urquidy allowed two hits and struck out four in 3 2/3 innings before leaving with posterior shoulder discomfort.

“His strike-to-ball rate was outstanding and then all of a sudden he lost his velocity," Baker said. “He said he was feeling some discomfort behind his shoulder."

Brandon Bielak (2-2) was solid after Urquidy’s early exit, giving up just two hits and a run in 3 1/3 innings for the win.

“He wasn’t trying too hard tonight," Baker said. “We told him to try less and be natural. He gave us all that we needed."

Yordan Álvarez hit a solo homer and Chas McCormick added a three-run shot in the eighth to help the Astros win their second consecutive series after they also took two of three from the Blue Jays.

Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani batted leadoff, making him the first player to do so the day after a pitching start since Ray Caldwell for the Yankees in July 1916. Ohtani, who struck out 10 in seven innings on Tuesday night, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts on Wednesday.

Angels manager Joe Maddon was asked if he thought fatigue played into Ohtani's off night at the plate.

“He may have been fatigued tonight but he didn’t relate that to me," Maddon said. “He’ll get a nice day off tomorrow and then he’ll just hit for a couple of days."

Heaney yielded a season-high nine hits with five runs in 5 1/3 innings for his second straight loss.

Altuve sent the first pitch he saw off the foul pole in left field. There were two outs in the first inning when Álvarez singled, and Gurriel made it 3-0 with his opposite-field shot to the front row of seats in right.

Carlos Correa singled after that before Heaney settled down, retiring 12 of the next 13 before Michael Brantley and Alex Bregman hit consecutive singles with two outs in the fifth.

Correa singled again with one out in the sixth before Tucker chased Heaney with his towering shot to the second deck in right field to push the lead to 5-0.

“The first inning happened and all I could do after that was put up zeros," Heaney said. “I tried to keep us in it. The way it ended was a backbreaker."

There were two outs in the fourth when Urquidy was injured. Pitching coach Brent Strom and a trainer came on the field to check on him before they summoned Baker, and Urquidy was removed from the game.

The Angels cut it to 5-1 on a sacrifice fly by Drew Butera in the eighth.


Angels: 3B Anthony Rendon, on the injured list since May 3 with a left knee bruise, is improving and could be activated Friday for the start of a series at Boston. ... SS José Iglesias returned to the lineup after missing three games with back tightness.

Astros: Baker said Gurriel exited in the eighth because he was feeling sick, and the team should know more about it on Thursday. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi threw live batting practice and will begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment in a few days. He’s been on the injured list since April 24 with a strained muscle in his right arm.


Tucker, who has homered in three of the last four games, on his recent success at the plate after early struggles this season: “When you’re swinging at better pitches over the plate you get better outcomes, and I’ve been doing that a little more lately. That’s definitely helped me out the last few games."


Angels: Los Angeles is off Thursday and RHP Griffin Canning (3-2, 5.19 ERA) will start the series opener Friday against Boston.

Astros: RHP Cristian Javier (3-1, 2.90) is scheduled to start Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series against Texas.


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