Shohei Ohtani crushed his seventh home run, a shot to straightaway center field leading off the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels averted a four-game series sweep with a 4-2 victory over the host Houston Astros on Sunday.
Ohtani snapped a 2-2 tie with his titanic blast off Astros right-hander Luis Garcia (0-2), whose 0-1 fastball traveled 440 feet and yielded an exit velocity of 107.1 miles per hour. Four players entered Sunday tied atop the majors with seven home runs. Ohtani leads the club with 16 RBIs.
The Angels had dropped 17 of 20 games at Minute Maid Park before responding to the Astros’ two-run seventh inning. Angels right-hander Dylan Bundy had retired 10 consecutive batters and allowed just one hit prior to Martin Maldonado and Myles Straw reaching in succession to open the sixth inning. Bundy answered by inducing a fly out and an inning-ending double play.
He wasn’t as fortunate in the seventh. Bundy plunked Yordan Alvarez with a two-strike fastball before surrendering a two-run home run to Yuli Gurriel on the subsequent pitch. It marked the second time this series that Gurriel clubbed a game-tying home run in the seventh inning.
Bundy departed having allowed two runs on three hits and one walk with six strikeouts over six innings. Right-handers Chris Rodriguez (1-0), Mike Mayers and Raisel Iglesias pitched exceptionally in relief, with Iglesias getting his third save. Rodriguez earned his first career win.
The Angels fashioned their 2-0 lead in the fifth inning in fortuitous fashion, combining a leadoff hit batsman (Albert Pujols), a swinging bunt single by Jose Iglesias, and a walk to Jose Rojas with a two-run single that ricocheted off the first-base bag into a rally against Astros right-hander Lance McCullers Jr.
David Fletcher delivered the two-run hit with his dribbler up the first-base line. Gurriel moved in position to make a play only for the ball to clip the bag and elude him, allowing Iglesias to round third base and score after Pujols trotted home from third.
McCullers allowed two runs on three hits and two walks with five strikeouts over six innings.
Anthony Benboom added an RBI single in the ninth that drove home Rojas as insurance.
–Field Level Media