HOUSTON (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit his AL-leading 41st homer, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Houston Astros 2-1 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
Ohtani’s first home run since Aug. 3 put the Angels up 2-0 in the sixth inning. Houston cut it to 2-1 in the bottom half, but the Angels finally got some help from their pitching staff after losing each of the first two games of the series 11-3. Their bullpen pitched three scoreless innings to secure the win.
Ohtani’s big hit came after the Angels announced the two-way star would skip his next scheduled mound start Wednesday at Texas after telling manager Phil Nevin he was feeling arm fatigue.
Nevin said Sunday that Ohtani is not injured and will return to the rotation during a home series against Cincinnati that begins Aug. 21.
Los Angeles starter Chase Silseth (4-1) allowed four hits and struck out five in five scoreless innings. Carlos Estévez struck out two in the ninth for his 25th save.
Houston’s José Urquidy (2-3) yielded three hits and one run in five-plus innings in his second start since returning from the injured list.
Eduardo Escobar doubled to left field with one out in the third and the Angels took a 1-0 lead when he scored on a two-out double by Mickey Moniak.
There was one out in the fourth when Kyle Tucker hit a ground-rule double. Jon Singleton walked with two outs, but the Astros came away empty when Mauricio Dubon grounded into a force play.
Ohtani connected off Parker Mushinski for a 448-foot shot to center field with two outs in the sixth.
Singleton walked again with two outs in the bottom of the inning, moved to third on a single by Dubon and scored on a wild pitch Jose Soriano.
Houston got a single from Chas McCormick with one out in the eighth. Matt Moore then struck out Singleton and Dubon.
The Angels loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth off Rafael Montero, but Ryne Stanek took over and retired Randal Grichuk to leave everyone stranded.
Houston’s Jose Altuve went 0 for 4 with a walk to snap a 14-game hitting streak.
Angels: LHP Patrick Sandoval (6-8, 3.86 ERA) opposes Texas RHP Max Scherzer (11-4, 3.88) when the Angels open a series against the AL West-leading Rangers Monday night.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (9-7, 3.30) faces LHP Braxton Garrett (6-3, 4.08) in the opener of a series at Miami Monday night.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb