ANAHEIM (AP)   —   The Los Angeles Angels scored five runs in the first inning and then rode left-hander Tyler Skaggs’ finest start of the season to beat the Houston Astros 9-1 on Wednesday night.

The victory kept the Angels two games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second AL wild-card berth, while the Astros’ magic number to clinch a playoff spot remained at five.

Skaggs (2-5) threw seven innings, holding Houston to three hits. He struck out five and walked one.

Skaggs missed 85 games with an oblique injury and had gone 0-4 with a 5.61 ERA in his first seven games since returning from the disabled list. It was his first victory since April 22.

Spot starter Mike Fiers (8-10) was charged with eight runs and 10 hits for the Astros, who have lost five of six.

The Angels finished with 13 hits, eight for extra bases. The Angels had six doubles by six players, a two-run homer from Luis Valbuena to cap the five-run first and a solo home run from Justin Upton off Tyler Clippard in the sixth.

It marked the 250th career homer for Upton, who is in his 11th major league season. It also gave him an even 100 RBIs on the season.


Astros: C Juan Centeno (mild concussion) is not expected to play until at least this weekend’s series against the Mariners. . CF Jake Marisnick left Wednesday’s game in the third inning after failing to stretch a bloop hit into a double. He injured his right thumb on the slide into second.

Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar, out since Aug. 8 with a strained oblique, is still restricted from baseball activities after aggravating the injury during his rehab.


Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (10-2, 3.05 ERA) is scheduled to start the series finale against the Angels on Thursday. Peacock is 3-2 with a 4.64 ERA in 10 games (seven starts) against the Angels.

Angels: Struggling RHP Ricky Nolasco (6-13, 5.19 ERA) will attempt to right things against his favorite opponent. Nolasco is 7-2 with a 3.82 ERA in 12 appearances against the Astros, his highest winning percentage (.778) against any MLB team.

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