HOUSTON (AP) — Houston interim manager Tom Lawless couldn’t have asked for a better first game to start his managerial career.
Jose Altuve had four hits for the second straight night, Brad Peacock threw 6 1/3 solid innings and the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 on Tuesday night.
Altuve became the first Astro to accomplish that feat since Lance Berkman did so in May of 2008. Altuve’s homer in the third extended Houston’s lead to 4-0 and was his sixth straight plate appearance with a hit.
“God, he’s the best player ever right now,” Peacock said of Altuve. “He’s unbelievable to watch. He plays hard. He swings the bat really well.”
Altuve, who leads the majors with 193 hits, appreciated the compliment.
“Every time that your teammates give you that support it’s going to feel good because you’re playing outside not only for the fans, but you’re playing for your teammates too,” Altuve said. “If they see me that way, I really appreciate it.”
Lawless took over after the Astros fired Bo Porter on Monday.
Robbie Grossman had three hits, including an RBI double in the fifth and Jason Castro added two hits and two RBIs as the Astros jumped out to a 7-0 lead after the fifth.
Peacock (4-8) gave up three runs on four hits and struck out five in earning his first win since July 8 at Texas. Houston has won four of its last five.
Lawless, who was given the game ball and drenched with water after the game, said winning first the game as a manager ranked pretty high in his career.
“They made it look easy,” Lawless said. “They came out playing. They did a nice job. We had great pitching. Brad did a great job of pounding the strike zone and mixing up his pitches.”
Gordon Beckham had three hits, including the first two hits off Peacock, for the Angels, who saw their six-game winning streak snapped.
Peacock retired 15 of the first 17 batters he faced, with Chris Iannetta being the only other baserunner he allowed with a fifth inning walk.
Beckham scored on an error in the sixth and drove in Erick Aybar in Los Angeles’ two-run seventh. Aybar extended his hit streak to a career-high 17 games with a double in the seventh.
The Astros jumped on Los Angeles starter C.J Wilson (10-9) early, scoring three runs in the first.
Grossman doubled to lead off, and Altuve, Dexter Fowler and Chris Carter followed with singles. Fowler and Carter’s singles drove in runs before Castro capped the inning with a sacrifice fly.
Wilson was tagged for five runs on eight hits with four strikeouts in 3 1-3 innings. The loss was Wilson’s first since Aug. 7 and ended a streak of four straight starts in which the left-hander allowed three runs or less.
“I think it was one of those games where C.J. just never got into a groove,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Just wasn’t quite as crisp as he needed to be.”
The short two-game series wraps up with the Angels sending RHP Jered Weaver (15-7) to the mound looking to continue his recent solid pitching. Weaver is 8-1 with a 3.47 ERA since June 21. Houston will counter with RHP Collin McHugh (7-9), who will be looking for his fourth straight win.
Angels: Scioscia said reliever Joe Thatcher (sprained left ankle) could be ready to return in 7-10 days.
Astros: LHP Darin Downs (right oblique) and OF Alex Presley (right oblique) were activated from the disabled list Tuesday.
A day after Porter was fired the Astros had already done a bit of redecorating in the clubhouse. The motivational quotes that Porter had placed on the strip of wall above the players’ lockers were gone. Also gone was the large motivational wheel that had been a staple in the clubhouse since Porter arrived.
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