Houston 5, LA Angels 2
When: 10:07 PM ET, Thursday, September 14, 2017
Where: Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California
Pat Hoberg, 1B -
Tony Randazzo, 2B -
Gerry Davis, 3B -
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Houston Astros right-hander Brad Peacock delivered a mirror image of his start against the Los Angeles Angels three weeks ago, only this time the bullpen didn't let him down.
Peacock allowed one run and three hits in six innings in a 5-2 victory over Los Angeles at Angel Stadium on Thursday night, trimming Houston's magic number to clinch the American League West to three.
The Angels (74-72) fell three games back of the Minnesota Twins in the chase for the second AL wild card with 16 games remaining.
Peacock's numbers Thursday were the same as he put up in Anaheim on Aug. 26, but the relievers let that win get away when the Angels scored two runs in the seventh and four in the eighth in the 7-6 Los Angeles victory.
On Thursday, Peacock walked three and struck out three.
"He had good stuff," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Peacock. "His slider continues to be his go-to pitch. He had a really good comeback sinker today. He looked like he was in total control."
Peacock (11-2) departed with a 2-1 lead, and relievers Francisco Liriano, Joe Musgrove, Ken Giles and Chris Devenski held Los Angeles to one run over the final three innings. Albert Pujols hit a solo home run off Devenski in the ninth that trimmed the deficit to three runs.
It was the 613th career home run for Pujols, moving him past Jim Thome for seventh all time.
"We've got a good 'pen," Hinch said. "We're going to use them."
Angels starter Ricky Nolasco (6-14) delivered his first quality start since Aug. 1, allowing two runs on four hits and a walk in six innings.
Nolasco, who came in having allowed the third-most home runs in the majors (34), struck out one and recorded 13 outs through the air but kept the ball in the park.
"As the game went on, his fastball had good life and he was getting into good zones," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It started off with his fastball command wasn't exactly where he wanted it, but he made some adjustments and it was six strong innings."
Houston broke open a one-run game in the eighth when Marwin Gonzalez delivered a two-run double to make it 4-1.
The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the second inning.
Gonzalez singled with one out, and Alex Bregman hit a 2-0 pitch into the left field corner to score the runner from first. Yuri Gurriel came up with two outs and delivered his second RBI of the series with a sharp single to left, scoring Bregman.
Peacock benefited from some good defense to escape a couple jams in the early innings.
For the third straight game, Angels second baseman Brandon Phillips started the first inning with a double, this time hitting a high pop fly that fell between first baseman Gurriel, right fielder Josh Reddick and second baseman Jose Altuve. The Angels eventually loaded the bases with two outs, but center fielder George Springer ran down Andrelton Simmons' sinking line drive to end the threat.
Martin Maldonado doubled just inside the third base bag with two outs in the second, and Phillips followed with a hard grounder in the same spot, but Bregman made a nice backhand and strong off-balance throw to end the inning. Bregman came in leading AL third basemen in fielding percentage at .977, which would be the best fielding percentage by a Houston third baseman in franchise history.
"We just couldn't get that key hit early," Scioscia said.
Angels third baseman Luis Valbuena cut the deficit to 2-1 with a solo home run with two outs in the fourth.
Valbuena also homered Wednesday night off Astros starter Mike Fiers, and his subsequent bat flip prompted Fiers to throw a pitch over Valbuena's head during the third baseman's next at-bat. Fiers admitted after the game he felt disrespected by Valbuena, and he was suspended five games by Major League Baseball on Thursday.
NOTES: Astros CF Jake Marisnick will undergo right thumb surgery Friday and miss six to eight weeks. Marisnick fractured his thumb on a headfirst slide into second in the third inning of a 9-1 loss to the Angels on Wednesday. ... Los Angeles RHP Keynan Middleton left with right ulnar nerve irritation after throwing four pitches in the seventh inning Thursday. Middleton, the first member of the organization's 2013 draft class to reach the big leagues, has a 4.47 ERA in 50 2/3 innings of relief this season. ... Angels 3B Luis Valbuena hit his team-leading 15th home run since the All-Star break.
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