MAGIC NUMBER DOWN TO 4: Surging Astros rout Angels 10-5

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Carlos Correa #1, Jose Siri #26 and Chas McCormick #20 of the Houston Astros shake hands as the walk off the field after the final out of the ninth inning defeating the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 21, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) (Jayne Kamin-Oncea, 2021 Jayne Kamin-Oncea)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Houston Astros routed the Angels 10-5 on Tuesday night, lowering their magic number for clinching their division title to four.

Aledmys Díaz and Kyle Tucker hit back-to-back homers and drove in three runs apiece to help lead the way for Houston.

For the Angels, Shohei Ohtani connected for his 45th home run of the season, his first homer since Sept. 10.

Ohtani has only three homers in September, but the two-way superstar is just one behind Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Kansas City’s Salvador Perez for the major league lead.

Jose Altuve hit a two-run homer and Martin Maldonado added a solo shot in another blowout victory at the Big A for the Astros, who shut out the Angels 10-0 on Monday. Houston built a 10-1 lead in the sixth inning of the rematch before coasting to its 12th win in 17 meetings with Los Angeles this season.

“We know this team is capable to do it every day,” Díaz said. “The guys are taking great at-bats now, top to bottom. We’re playing good baseball right now, and hopefully we can keep it for the next month and a half.”

The Astros' (90-61) sixth win in seven games overall coupled with the Oakland Athletics' second straight loss to Seattle trimmed Houston's magic number for clinching the AL West title to four.

“That’s pretty good, but we’re just trying to win,” said Altuve, whose 29th homer left him two shy of matching his career high. “We’re not quite paying attention to the magic number just yet. We have 11 more games, and we’re trying to win them all and see what happens next.”

José Urquidy (8-3) pitched six-hit ball into the sixth inning, yielding four runs while staying unbeaten since June. In his fourth appearance back from a two-month absence with a right shoulder injury, Urquidy lasted almost as long as manager Dusty Baker had hoped.

“We were trying to get him through the sixth and build up his endurance, and then he hung a couple of breaking balls and gave up three runs,” Baker said. "And that’s why we had to go get him. He was very good up to that point."

Phil Gosselin hit a three-run homer and Jack Mayfield had a solo shot for the Angels, who have lost five straight while wrapping up their seventh straight non-playoff season. The Halos had their second consecutive embarrassing pitching performance against the division leaders, giving up up 18 runs in an eight-inning stretch spanning the first two games of this four-game series.

Houston got four hits and four runs off Angels starter Packy Naughton (0-3), who pitched into the fifth inning of his fourth career start.

Tucker hit a two-run homer and Díaz followed with a solo shot off Naughton in the second for the Astros' 10th back-to-back homers of the season.

“I made two bad pitches,” Naughton said. “I think I battled and came back pretty well, but you’ve got to hope next time you can come back and execute those pitches.”

RAW ARMS

Los Angeles has chosen to promote several pitchers with minimal major league experience to finish out what’s likely to be its sixth straight losing season, and the first four hurlers who took the mound Tuesday were rookies who came in with a combined 48 1/3 innings in the big leagues. Austin Warren was the only one who performed well, throwing a perfect eighth in his return from a four-week stint on the COVID-19 injured list.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: 3B Alex Bregman got the day off for rest.

Angels: Unless OF Jo Adell (abdominal strain) feels much better fairly soon, he won't play again this season, manager Joe Maddon said.

UP NEXT

Houston's Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) looks to extend his AL lead in victories and innings (144 1/3) for a rookie pitcher. He faces fellow rookie Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA), who will make his third major league start.

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