Alex Bregman belted his fifth career grand slam while Cristian Javier delivered a strong pitching performance as the Houston Astros defeated the visiting Los Angeles Angels 9-6 on Saturday.
Bregman capped a five-run fourth inning with his line drive into the left-field seats top clear the bases against Angels reliever Jacob Webb, in a frame that was unsightly for the Angels' defense.
The Astros chased Angels starter Patrick Sandoval (3-5) after four successive one-out singles, including a seeing-eye hit from Mauricio Dubon that trickled into center field and a sharp grounder from Jeremy Pena that handcuffed Angels shortstop Livan Soto.
When Yordan Alvarez followed with a grounder to the right side of the infield, Martin Maldonado scored and Alvarez reached when Sandoval failed to cover first base. Webb replaced Sandoval with Bregman hitting the second grand slam for Houston on the homestand, as the Astros led 7-1.
Javier (7-1) limited the Angels to one run on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts over six innings. Shohei Ohtani drilled a run-scoring triple to right-center in the third that tied the game at 1-1, but Houston's Chas McCormick produced an RBI double in the bottom of that inning that scored Pena for a 2-1 lead.
After applying pressure on the Houston bullpen with two runs in the eighth inning and another scoring threat in the ninth on Friday, the Angels did so again with a four-run seventh.
Hunter Renfroe greeted Astros reliever Ryne Stanek with his 11th home run and Stanek allowed a pair of doubles sandwiched around his walk of Soto, with Ohtani driving in Luis Rengifo with his double off the left-field scoreboard. That cut the deficit to 7-3 and chased Stanek.
Hector Neris replaced Stanek, unleashed a wild pitch that scored Soto, and surrendered an RBI single to Mike Trout that scored Ohtani. The Angels were within 7-5 and Neris issued a pair of walks before finally escaping the jam.
The Astros got two of those runs back in the bottom of the seventh when McCormick homered the opposite way to right off Angels right-hander Ben Joyce before Dubon added a sacrifice fly to center that scored Jake Meyers, who reached on a one-out double to left field.
Bregman added a career-high-tying four walks to his eighth homer. Ohtani finished 4-for-5 and a homer shy of the cycle.
--Field Level Media