ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jered Weaver pitched a two-hitter for his first complete game in nearly two years and Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead home run in the sixth, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
Weaver (5-3) went the distance for the 12th time in 241 career starts and first time since Aug. 6, 2012, when he beat the Athletics 4-0 with a four-hitter. The three-time All-Star struck out five, walked one and retired 17 of his last 19 batters — including 10 straight after giving up a leadoff homer to George Springer in the fourth. Weaver is 5-1 with a 1.70 ERA over his last seven starts.
Weaver hit Springer with a pitch with one out in the ninth, then picked him off before retiring Dexter Fowler on a popout to third base.
Weaver threw a called third strike to Jason Castro in the fourth for his 1,281st career strikeout, overtaking Mike Witt on the Angels’ career list behind Nolan Ryan and Chuck Finley.
Collin McHugh (2-3) lost his third straight decision over four starts despite allowing just two runs and four hits in seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven and walked two.
Erick Aybar drove in the Angels’ other run with a third-inning single.
Pujols who homered twice on Sunday against Tampa Bay ace David Price, drove a 2-1 pitch into the top tier of the double-decker bullpen in left field for his 13th homer this season and 505th of his career to surpass Eddie Murray for 25th place on the career list.
On hand to see it was Air Force staff sergeant Tom Sherrill of Pomona, Calif., who came up with Pujols’ 500th home run ball on April 22 at Nationals Park in Washington.
The Angels ran themselves into the third out of the fifth inning after shortstop Jonathan Villar made a diving stop of Howie Kendrick’s grounder in the hole and threw wide of first base. Jesus Guzman took the throw up the line and attempted a sweep tag on Kendrick, who was called safe by umpire Quinn Wolcott and credited with a hit.
Guzman quickly motioned to the Astros’ dugout that a video replay challenge was in order, then noticed Collin Cowgill breaking for third and threw to Matt Dominguez in time for the tag.
Villar, the Astros’ No. 9 hitter, tried to start a rally in the sixth by bunting his way on, but his front foot was out of the batter’s box as he pushed one between the mound and third base and was immediately called out by umpire Gerry Davis.
NOTES: The jockey and trainer for Triple Crown hopeful California Chrome — Victor Espinoza and Art Sherman — each threw out a ceremonial first pitch. Espinoza was able to get the 60 feet, six inches — throwing a perfect strike to Raul Ibanez after Sherman bounced his pitch to trainer Rick Smith. … Angels CF Mike Trout missed his first game of the season because of a sore left hamstring, but was available to pinch-hit if necessary. He expects to be back in the lineup Friday night for the start of a three-game series with Kansas City. … Cowgill started in CF for the third time this season and robbed Jose Altuve of a hit with a diving catch of his shallow flyball leading off the game. Altuve was 0 for 4, ending his career-best 12-game hitting streak. …… Pujols had 43 home runs against the Astros, tying Aramis Ramirez for the most among active players. … Springer robbed Hank Conger of extra bases with a diving catch near the warning track in right center to end the second inning.