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|09-21-2015, 10:40 PM||#1|
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Astros withstand late rally from Angels, win 6-3
Evan Gattis and Carlos Correa hit two-run homers, and the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 6-3 on Monday night in a matchup of American League wild-card contenders.
Dallas Keuchel (18-8) pitched 7 2-3 solid innings to remain undefeated at home this season. More importantly, the All-Star left-hander helped Houston keep momentum by winning its third straight.
The Astros (80-71) lead the Minnesota Twins by three games and the Angels by 3 1-2 for the AL's second wild-card spot. The victory put the Astros within a game of first-place Texas in the AL West. Both the Twins and Rangers were off Monday.
The Astros are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. Their last two playoff runs, including the 2005 World Series, came via wild card.
The loss was the second straight for the Angels (76-74), who dropped to 11-8 in September. They entered the key three-game stop in Houston having won their previous three series.
The Angels made it interesting in the ninth. David Freese scored on a two-out single by David Murphy. Murphy scored on a pinch-hit single by Collin Cowgill off Oliver Perez to get Los Angeles within striking distance.
But Houston closer Luke Gregerson retired Erick Aybar to end the game for his 28th save.
Right-hander Jered Weaver lasted 5 2-3 innings for the Angels, giving up five runs and nine hits, including the two homers. He struck out five and walked two.
Weaver (7-12) entered the game with a 2-0 record and 1.71 ERA in three starts against Houston this season. His record included a shutout May 8 at Anaheim.
Gattis put the Astros ahead with a shot off Weaver that hit the foul pole in left field in the second inning, his 26th homer of the year.
Correa took Weaver deep with two outs an inning later, landing his 19th home run of the season in the Astros bullpen.
Keuchel allowed one run and six hits, striking out six and walking one. He improved to 14-0 in 17 starts at Minute Maid Park this season.
Keuchel's 203 strikeouts tied Mike Cuellar's total of 1967 for most by an Astros left-hander.
George Springer added to Houston's lead in the fifth with an RBI single, and Correa drove in Jose Altuve in the seventh with a double to cap the scoring for the Astros.
Altuve, who finished 3 for 4 and a home run short of a cycle, had a chance to add to the scoring in the fifth but was thrown out at home on a single by Jed Lowrie to end the inning.
Altuve, Springer and Correa ---- Houston's top third of the order -- combined for eight hits, four RBIs and three runs scored.
ANGELS: RHP Joe Smith (ankle) underwent an MRI on Monday, and the team was awaiting the results before discussing a timetable for his return, manager Mike Scioscia said. Smith was injured off the field Saturday.
ASTROS: IF Marwin Gonzalez (finger) was out of the lineup for the seventh time in eight games, but manager A.J. Hinch said he was available to pinch-hit. . OF Carlos Gomez (intercostal strain) missed his ninth straight game but was expected to see increased activity in the next 24 hours.
Angels LHP Hector Santiago (8-9, 3.47 ERA) is 0-2 in eight appearances -- including six starts -- against the Astros, who will start rookie RHP Lance McCullers (5-6, 3.18).
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