HOUSTON (AP) — This is exactly what the Houston Astros were looking for when they signed Scott Feldman over the winter.
Feldman tossed seven innings of one-run ball, and the Astros stopped a three-game losing streak with a 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
“I just tried to go out and make my pitches,” Feldman said. “The guys went out and got some early runs for me again. From there, just trying to throw strikes and not walk many guys.”
Feldman (2-0), who signed a $30 million, three-year contract in December, allowed three hits and walked two in his second start of the season. He also pitched 6 2-3 scoreless innings in a victory over the New York Yankees on opening day.
He became one of four pitchers in Astros history to go at least 6 2-3 innings in his first two starts while allowing one run or less, joining Roger Clemens, Robin Roberts and Dean Stone.
“He’s been outstanding,” Houston manager Bo Porter said. “Again, giving us the start that he did today, obviously, we needed it with the bullpen getting taxed the last couple days. He gave us seven solid innings the way he did today was outstanding.”
Chad Qualls got two outs for his first save of the season.
The Astros hit five homers. Jason Castro, Matt Dominguez, Jesus Guzman and Alex Presley connected against Jered Weaver (0-2), and Jonathan Villar added a two-run shot in the seventh off Matt Shoemaker.
Feldman did not allow a hit until Josh Hamilton’s two-out dribbler in the fourth went under the glove of the pitcher, who charged at it off the mound. He allowed his first run in 11 1-3 innings this season in the fifth on Erick Aybar’s groundout to second that made it 4-1.
Feldman said he did not have great command of his pitches, but his curveball was there throughout the game. Castro, Feldman’s batterymate, said the pitcher was helped by early run support.
“Any time we can put some runs up and then shut them out is huge moving forward,” Castro said. “It keeps the momentum on our side. We were able to keep putting the pressure on the offense and he just kept doing his job coming out putting up zeroes.”
Castro hit a two-run shot off the left-center facade in the first, and Dominguez, Guzman and Presley had solo homers in the second, fourth and fifth, respectively.
“We had some good swings on some pitches and the ball went out of the park,” Presley said. “We had seven hits and five were home runs. That’s a pretty good percentage. It’s something you don’t see every day, and we took advantage of it.”
Weaver allowed five runs and five hits with six strikeouts over 5 2-3 innings. It was the third time that he had allowed four homers in a game and the first since Aug. 2, 2008, against the New York Yankees.
“I made a couple of mistakes and they did not miss them, obviously,” Weaver said. “You know you are going to have games like that, but it is frustrating personally to start the year off like this. I have a bunch more to go, so I am just going to shake this one off and start thinking about who we’ve got next.”
Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said he thought Weaver struggled with his command at times.
“He threw some good pitches and located some good fastballs,” Scioscia said. “As the game went on, his changeup became part of what he was doing and had some success with it. But, just from the get-go he was having problem with commanding counts and repeating pitches, and he got behind.”
Raul Ibanez cut Houston’s lead to 7-3 with a two-run single in the ninth against Anthony Bass, and Howie Kendrick followed with another base hit. Qualls got Hank Conger to fly out before Aybar had a run-scoring single. Qualls then struck out Kole Calhoun to end it.
Houston’s five homers were its highest total since it hit five at the Chicago White Sox last Aug. 26.
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