Jose Altuve, Yuli Gurriel and Kyle Tucker keyed an offensive surge and Brandon Bielak pitched effectively after being summoned unexpectedly from the bullpen as the Houston Astros won the rubber match of their three-game set against the visiting Los Angeles Angels 9-1 Wednesday.
Altuve, Gurriel and Tucker each homered off Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney (1-3), who recorded 10 strikeouts against the Astros on April 23. Heaney endured a laborious 32-pitch first inning but appeared to find his groove before Tucker applied the knockout blow in the sixth.
Gurriel capped the Astros’ three-run first inning by driving in Yordan Alvarez with his seventh homer, an opposite-field shot to right. Altuve provided Houston a 1-0 lead by ricocheting the first pitch in the bottom of the first off the foul pole in left field for his fourth homer this season.
Tucker crushed a first-pitch Heaney curveball 416 feet into the upper deck in right for his club-leading eighth home run. Houston has five players with five-plus homers, a list that includes Alvarez, who socked his seventh home run leading off the eighth, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa (five apiece).
Tucker is 7-for-13 with three home runs and seven RBIs over his last four games.
Heaney faced just three batters over the minimum following his rough first inning and through the fifth. But when Tucker followed a one-out Correa single with his blast, Heaney departed having allowed five runs on nine hits with five strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings. He threw 96 pitches.
Astros right-hander Jose Urquidy breezed through his first three innings, sidestepping a Jose Iglesias one-out single in the first inning and Jose Rojas’ leadoff double in the second with nary a concern. He retired eight consecutive batters after Rojas reached but departed with right shoulder discomfort after inducing a lazy fly ball to right from Taylor Ward in the fourth.
Bielak (2-2) entered and immediately retired 10 of 11 batters before issuing a leadoff walk to Phil Gosselin and a single to Jon Jay in the eighth. Gosselin scored via a Drew Butera sacrifice fly, but Astros right-hander Andre Scrubb limited the damage to one run in relief of Bielak.
–Field Level Media