While they likely won't avoid finishing with triple-digit losses again, the Houston Astros have tried their best to begin wrapping up this season in positive fashion.
Houston (50-96) has lost a combined 213 games in the last two seasons and is on pace to match its 107 defeats from a year ago even with its current win streak.
The Astros outscored Seattle 25-7 during a road sweep earlier this week. They batted .310 and .372 with runners in scoring position while their starters posted a 1.06 ERA.
Matt Dominguez , 5 for 11 in the series, had a pair of doubles and scored two runs in a 6-1 victory Wednesday."It's something we talked about headed down the stretch to the end of the year. Let's build some momentum moving toward next year," manager Bo Porter said.
The Astros, however, have lost each of Keuchel's last seven starts, with the left-hander going 0-4 with a 6.12 ERA. Keuchel (5-9, 4.99 ERA) gave up five runs and 10 hits over 3 1-3 innings - his shortest start of the season - in a 7-5 loss in Oakland last Friday.
Keuchel gave up four runs in four-plus innings in a 6-5, 10-inning loss to Los Angeles on Aug. 17. He yielded two runs in seven frames in his first start against the Angels, a 6-3 win May 31.
Houston's 9-7 record against Los Angeles this season is its best versus an AL opponent. Its only other winning mark against a Junior Circuit team is a 4-3 record versus the Chicago White Sox.
The Astros, however, were swept in three games in the most recent home matchup with Los Angeles from June 28-30.
The Angels (70-76) also enter this series having won 15 of 20, and 12 of 14 on the road. Kole Calhoun helped his club complete a three-game sweep in Toronto by hitting a solo homer in a 4-3 victory Thursday.
Calhoun is the first Angels' player with at least one RBI in 15 games over a stretch of 16 starts.
"There is a still (some) season left to go and we're going to go out and try to win games. You never know what can happen, so we are going to out and play hard," said Calhoun, who is 10 for 18 with seven RBIs in his last five games.
Jason Vargas (8-6, 3.76) will try to help the Angels keep rolling while building on a solid outing in his latest start. The left-hander gave up two runs over six innings and struck out eight Sunday against Texas but did not get a decision in a 4-3 loss.
Vargas, 0-1 with a 6.19 ERA in three all-time starts against Houston, gave up three runs over 5 1-3 innings without a decision in a 7-5 loss to the Astros on Aug. 18.
Mark Trumbo , batting .424 with four homers in his last eight games, has a homer, triple and double in his five at-bats versus Keuchel.
Dominguez is 4 for 5 in his career against Vargas, and Jose Altuve is 3 for 6.
The Astros haven't won four in a row since June 12-16.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|September 08, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|September 08, 2013||Luis Jimenez||Day-to-Day||Left game - right thumb contusion|
|August 29, 2013||Chris Nelson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|August 28, 2013||Chris Nelson||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|August 22, 2013||Kevin Jepsen||15-Day DL||Appendectomy|
|August 19, 2013||Mike Trout||Day-to-Day||Tight right hamstring|
|September 08, 2013||Paul Clemens||Day-to-Day||Blister, right hand|
|September 02, 2013||Jason Castro||Day-to-Day||Left game - Right knee sprain|
|August 22, 2013||Max Stassi||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 21, 2013||Max Stassi||Day-to-Day||Left game - head|
|August 20, 2013||Carlos Corporan||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|August 20, 2013||Carlos Corporan||15-Day DL||Concussion|
HOUSTON (AP) -- Matt Dominguez hit a grand slam to give the Houston Astros a big lead in their 9-7 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.
Dominguez's hit was nice, but the Astros were far more excited about a single that started that inning.
That hit was by Cody Clark and it was the first of his major league career in his 11th big league game.
"I think that was one of the happiest moments of the season," manager Bo Porter said. "Some people may think it's one hit, but ... you appreciate just the story line of the whole thing. Eleven years in the minors, getting an opportunity to come to the big leagues and being able to live out your dreams. It couldn't happen to a better guy."
First base coach Dave Clark (no relation) greeted Cody Clark with a hug as the player smiled sheepishly. Many of the Astros stood and cheered on the railing of the dugout while Jose Altuve jumped in the air and pumped his fist to celebrate the milestone.
"It was amazing," Cody Clark said. "I can't even describe it because they've been so supportive of me. Every day they're telling me `You're going to get it. Don't worry; you're going to get it.' It was good to score a run and get in there and give them all high-fives and hugs."
Altuve hit a three-run homer in the third as the Astros got their fourth straight win.
The Astros trailed by 1 entering the fifth before Trevor Crowe singled in two runs to put Houston up 5-4. Dominguez then hit his 20th homer off the wall in left field to extend the lead to 9-4.
Dallas Keuchel (6-9) yielded 10 hits and six runs, but tied his career high by striking out nine in 5 2-3 innings for his first win since July 27. Josh Fields struck out two in a scoreless ninth for his fifth save.
Houston tagged Angels starter Jason Vargas (8-7) for nine hits and a season-high eight runs in 4 1-3 innings.
"This is one of the most unusual nights we've had in the last three weeks," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just didn't get it done on the mound."
Mark Trumbo hit a two-run triple in the third and Chris Iannetta hit a solo homer in the fourth for Los Angeles, which dropped to 10-7 against Houston this season.
A pair of walks and a single by Erick Aybar loaded the bases for the Angels with no outs in the eighth inning. Trout's bases-loaded walk got Los Angeles within 9-7, but Trumbo grounded into a double play to limit the damage.
In his first game back from the disabled list, Howie Kendrick singled with two outs in the third before Trout drew a walk. Trumbo's triple, which rolled up Tal's Hill in center field, scored both of them to make it 2-0.
Astros' right fielder L.J. Hoes singled in the third before a one-out single by Brandon Barnes . Altuve launched his fifth homer into the Crawford Boxes in left field to give Houston a 3-2 lead.
Iannetta sent the first pitch of the fourth inning into the seats in left field to tie it at 3-all. Andrew Romine 's RBI single with one out put Los Angeles up 4-3.
Crowe had three hits to end a 0-for-12 skid and Dominguez pushed his RBI total to 74.
Romine added an RBI single in the sixth and Aybar doubled in another run home to cut the lead to 9-6.
NOTES: Los Angeles right-hander Jered Weaver opposes Brett Oberholtzer when the series continues on Saturday. ... Kendrick, who had a hyperextended left knee, was back in the lineup for the first time since Aug. 5. He was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. He was injured when he landed awkwardly trying to avoid a collision with a teammate. Scioscia said they'll try to "get him acclimated to playing" and slowly increase his work. He was replaced in the bottom of the eighth inning. ... Houston C Jason Castro (right knee) sat out Friday, and hopes to be the designated hitter sometime in this weekend series. Manager Bo Porter said he doesn't know when Castro will catch again. ... The Astros activated OF J.D. Martinez, who had been on the disabled list since July 27 with a sprained left wrist, before Friday's game.