Astros Complete Four-Game Sweep Of Angels With 2-1 Victory
Decorated Soldier Reunited With Family During Rose Parade
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Chris Carter homered, Erik Bedard pitched seven strong innings for his first victory of the season, and the last-place Houston Astros completed a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 2-1 victory Monday night.
Brandon Barnes drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning as the Astros finished a perfect six-game road trip with their seventh win over the big-budget Angels in 10 meetings this season.
Joe Blanton picked up his AL-worst ninth loss for the Angels despite matching his career high with 11 strikeouts and allowing just three hits in eight outstanding innings.
Jose Veras struck out Hank Conger with two runners on in the ninth for his 11th save.
Houston hadn’t won six consecutive games since August 2010, and hadn’t won six straight on the road since July 2005.
The Astros won despite managing only four baserunners — and one was picked off.
Mike Trout drove in the only run for the foundering Angels, who have lost six of eight to erase all momentum from their eight-game winning streak last month. Los Angeles slid back to eight games below .500 with four consecutive losses to the AL’s worst team, dropping its record against the rest of the AL West to 9-19.
Veras barely held on for his third save in the four-game series, wrapping up Houston’s first perfect road trip of six games or longer since 1999. Veras gave up Alberto Callaspo’s two-out double and walked pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton, but struck out pinch-hitter Conger looking.
Bedard (1-2) hadn’t won in his last 11 starts dating to last season, but the veteran lefty gave up just five hits and a walk despite entering the night with a career 7.08 ERA at Angel Stadium.
Carter’s fifth-inning homer was the Astros’ first hit off Blanton (1-9) — and the first baseman’s fifth homer against the Angels already this season. Blanton kept mowing down the Astros in his first start with 10 strikeouts in nearly four years.
Blanton still matched Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels for the major league lead in losses.
Hamilton was held out of the Angels’ starting lineup to give some rest to the slumping $125 million outfielder. Hamilton missed two games last week with back spasms, but the former AL MVP was 2 for 15 on the homestand, and is batting .169 against left-handers this season.
Albert Pujols went 0 for 4, and Barnes dived to catch his sinking drive to center with Trout on base to end the eighth.
Blanton struck out six of the Astros’ first nine batters. Houston’s only baserunner in the first 4 2-3 innings reached on Callaspo’s throwing error in the third, but Chris Iannetta picked Matt Dominguez off second base moments later.
The Angels took the lead in the third when J.B. Shuck doubled down the right-field line, advanced on Erick Aybar’s single and scored on Trout’s flyout.
Blanton was firmly in control until Carter’s homer, striking out the first two batters he faced in the fifth to surpass his season high. But Carter lined a pitch into the bullpens beyond the left-field fence for his 12th homer of the season.
Houston went ahead in the sixth when Dominguez doubled, advanced on a bunt and scored on Barnes’ fly.
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