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Angels soar past Astros with 6-run fifth
By Christian Boutwell and Maria Guardado
HOUSTON -- The Angels tagged six runs on Astros starter David Paulino and reliever Michael Feliz in the fifth inning en route to a 12-6 win on Sunday at Minute Maid Park, sealing a series victory against the hottest team in the Majors.
The Astros, who dropped their first series to an American League West opponent, used a four-run fourth inning to open a three-run lead before the fateful fifth. Feliz replaced Paulino and promptly surrendered a three-run homer to Eric Young Jr., capping the big inning and giving the Halos a 9-6 lead.
"They had a bigger inning than we did," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Their baseball beat our baseball. ... They outplayed us this series; we had a tough series. But we'll move on to the next one."
The Angels tacked on three insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings to seal the victory -- their fourth against the Astros this season. The win returned the Angels to .500, at 33-33. Houston is 21-8 against the AL West in 2017.
"I think we had good at-bats the whole game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think we took our walks when they were there, we did well with guys in scoring position, we ran the bases aggressively and had some clutch hitting."
In the first inning, Albert Pujols put the Halos up 1-0 with a solo shot -- his 601st career home run -- to left-center field. The 408-foot blast was Pujols' 56th home run against the Astros, the most any player has ever hit against Houston in the regular season.
George Springer ripped a two-run homer -- his 17th this season -- to bring the Astros within one run in the third. In the next inning, Yuli Gurriel extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a solo homer to Minute Maid's Crawford Boxes.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Tied no more: Young Jr. tagged Feliz with a three-run homer in the fifth inning to break a tie. It was Young's second homer this season, and traveled a Statcast-estimated 392 feet to straightaway right field.
Young is now batting .318 with three doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four stolen bases in 13 games for the Angels since being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on May 29.
"It's huge," Young said. "I'm thankful my name is in the lineup. I just want to try to take advantage of every opportunity, wherever it may be."
Astros take control, briefly: Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the fourth, Houston batted around, piling on four runs and taking a momentary lead. Gurriel led off the frame with his seventh homer. Then, two hits and one walk later, Norichika Aoki and Josh Reddick plated two more with an RBI double and single, respectively, before a Jose Altuve RBI single completed the Astros' scoring.
AOKI REACHES MILESTONE
With a single in the sixth inning, Aoki captured his 2,000th career hit between MLB (716) and Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league (1,284), granting him immediate entrance into the Meikyukai -- or "The Golden Players Club" -- one of two Japanese baseball halls of fame. Aoki added his 2,001st hit with a single in the eighth.
"I'm very happy and pleased I was able to get to 2,000 hits," Aoki said. "I'm very happy that all our Houston fans, players and coaching staff gave me a standing ovation. More > "
"Tip of the cap to him. Congratulations for a really cool accomplishment -- 2,000 hits takes a long time. It takes a lot of success. It's over two countries, in two Major Leagues. We had a nice time celebrating him. I know it's been grinding on him a little bit, but I think he's handled everything very professional. I think I saw him smile for the first time in a while after getting those hits. Very proud of him and glad he did it as an Astro." -- Hinch, on Aoki's 2000th
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
In the third inning, Cameron Maybin stole his fifth base in the series, setting an Angels record for steals in a three-game series. He later added a sixth steal in the eighth inning, giving him an American League-leading 19 on the season.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels: The Angels will head back to Anaheim to kick off a seven-game homestand against the Yankees and the Royals. Right-hander Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.08 ERA) will start Monday's opener against New York at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. It will mark Meyer's first career appearance against the Yankees.
Astros: Houston begins its third series against the Rangers on Monday. First pitch for all three games is slated for 7:10 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are expecting right-handed starter Joe Musgrove (right shoulder discomfort) to return from the disabled list to start the series opener.