Houston at Los Angeles

L.A. Angels
W: E. Bedard (1-2) L: J. Blanton (1-9) S: J. Veras (11)
HR: HOU - C. Carter (12)   LAA - None

Astros complete four-game sweep of Angels

CBSSports.com wire reports

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Just when the Houston Astros figured everybody in baseball had pretty much forgotten about them, they've started to pull off some attention-grabbing feats.

After a perfect road trip, the low-budget club with the AL's worst record is heading home with the majors' longest active winning streak.

Chris Carter hit a home run, Erik Bedard pitched seven strong innings for his first victory of the season, and the last-place Astros completed a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 2-1 victory Monday night.

Brandon Barnes drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning as the Astros finished their unblemished six-game trip with their seventh victory against the big-money Angels in 10 meetings this season. The Astros completed their longest perfect road trip since 1999 despite managing only three hits and four baserunners -- and one was picked off.

"Everybody takes pride in winning and playing as a team, and guys are playing great right now," said Carter, who hit his fifth home run against the Angels already this season. "It's just about getting big hits in big situations."

Houston hadn't won six consecutive games since August 2010, and hadn't won six straight on the road since July 2005. The Astros barely hung on for the latest victory in their improbable string, with Jose Veras striking out Hank Conger with two runners on in the ninth for his 11th save.

"I feel like we're playing really good baseball," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "We had been playing good baseball, but now we're starting to win those crucial break points. ... I look at the talent in that room. I know the potential we have. You're starting to see we're coming together. I said it last month: We're going to hit our stride, and we're going to start winning some of those games we were losing."

The Astros had just enough to hold off Los Angeles, which lost a game despite allowing three hits or fewer for just the fifth time in the last decade.

Joe Blanton picked up his AL-worst ninth loss for the Angels despite matching his career high with 11 strikeouts and allowing just three hits in eight outstanding innings. The Angels held a closed-door meeting for 25 minutes after their latest discouraging loss in a season full of them.

"Anything can happen in this game, so you can't take the other team for granted," said Albert Pujols, who went 0 for 4. "They have a lot of players who want to prove that they belong up here. We had our pitching matchups set up, and obviously things didn't go our way."

Barnes dived to catch Pujols' sinking drive to center with Mike Trout on base to end the eighth.

Veras then held on for his third save in the four-game series, giving up Alberto Callaspo's two-out double and walking pinch-hitter Josh Hamilton striking out pinch-hitter Conger looking.

Bedard (1-2) hadn't won in his last 11 starts dating to last season, but the veteran lefty gave up just five hits and a walk despite entering the night with a career 7.08 ERA at Angel Stadium.

Trout drove in the only run for the foundering Angels, who have lost six of eight to erase all momentum from their eight-game winning streak last month. Los Angeles slid back to eight games below .500 with four consecutive losses to the Astros, dropping its record against the rest of the AL West to 9-19.

Carter's fifth-inning homer was the Astros' first hit off Blanton (1-9), who kept mowing down the Astros in his first start with 10 strikeouts in nearly four years. Blanton still matched Philadelphia's Cole Hamels for the major league lead in losses.

"They executed when they needed to, and we didn't," Blanton said. "They pitched well. Anytime somebody beats you four in a row, you've got to give them credit. It's not all a matter of you playing bad."

Hamilton was held out of the Angels' starting lineup to give some rest to the slumping $125 million outfielder. Hamilton missed two games last week with back spasms, but the former AL MVP was 2 for 15 on the homestand, and is batting .169 against left-handers this season.

Blanton struck out six of the Astros' first nine batters. Houston's only baserunner in the first 4 2/3 innings reached on Callaspo's throwing error in the third, but Chris Iannetta picked Matt Dominguez off second base moments later.

The Angels took the lead in the third when J.B. Shuck doubled down the right-field line, advanced on Erick Aybar's single and scored on Trout's flyout.

Blanton was firmly in control until Carter's homer, striking out the first two batters he faced in the fifth to surpass his season high. But Carter lined a pitch into the bullpens beyond the left-field fence for his 12th homer of the season.

Houston went ahead in the sixth when Dominguez doubled, advanced on a bunt and scored on Barnes' fly.


  • Astros SS Marwin Gonzalez returned after missing four games with a strained hamstring.
  • Blanton matched his career-best 11 strikeouts on May 26, 2009, while pitching for Philadelphia against the Marlins.
  • OF Peter Bourjos had a triple in the first game of his rehabilitation assignment with Class A Inland Empire. Out since April 29 with an injured hamstring, the center fielder is expected to rejoin the Angels this week, bumping Trout back to left field.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Albert Pujols and the struggling Angels suffer an embarassing four-game sweep against the last-place Astros. (USATSI)
Albert Pujols and the struggling Angels suffer an embarassing four-game sweep against the last-place Astros. (USATSI)

Players of the Game

E. Bedard
IP 7.0
H 5
ER 1
BB 1
K 2
Los Angeles

J. Blanton
IP 8.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 0
K 11

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Houston Astros
Brandon Barnes, CF3001010 .277
Jose Altuve, 2B4010000 .296
Jason Castro, C4000021 .276
J.D. Martinez, LF3000020 .271
Carlos Pena, DH3000030 .245
Chris Carter, 1B3111010 .225
Jimmy Paredes, RF3000020 .214
    Trevor Crowe, RF0000000 .237
Matt Dominguez, 3B3110000 .236
Marwin Gonzalez, SS2000010 .233
2B - Matt Dominguez (9, Blanton)
HR - Chris Carter (12, Blanton)
SF - Brandon Barnes (1)
SH - Marwin Gonzalez (7)
RBI - Brandon Barnes (13), Chris Carter (32)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Carter (11)
PK - Matt Dominguez (1, Blanton)
Team LOB - 1
Outfield Assists - Brandon Barnes 1
Houston Astros
Erik Bedard (W,1-2) 7511120 4.76
Wesley Wright (H,5) 0.2000000 4.09
Josh Fields (H,1) 0.1100000 0.00
Jose Veras (S,11) 1100120 4.15
Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 92-62, Wesley Wright 5-5, Josh Fields 5-4, Jose Veras 22-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 3-15, Wesley Wright 2-0, Jose Veras 1-0
Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 26, Wesley Wright 2, Josh Fields 2, Jose Veras 5
Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar, SS4020010 .268
Mike Trout, CF3021000 .299
Albert Pujols, DH4000004 .243
Mark Trumbo, RF3000101 .268
Howie Kendrick, 2B4010012 .297
Alberto Callaspo, 3B4010000 .254
    Chris Nelson, PR0000000 .245
Chris Iannetta, C3000000 .221
   a- Josh Hamilton, PH0000100 .216
Brendan Harris, 1B3000010 .224
   b- Hank Conger, PH1000012 .250
J.B. Shuck, LF3110000 .283
a-walked for Iannetta in the 9th
b-struck out for Harris in the 9th
2B - Alberto Callaspo (8, Veras), J.B. Shuck (6, Bedard)
SF - Mike Trout (4)
RBI - Mike Trout (38)
Team LOB - 7
E - Alberto Callaspo (4, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Blanton (L,1-9) 83220111 5.53
Kevin Jepsen 1000010 4.91
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 112-75, Kevin Jepsen 8-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 9-4
Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 27, Kevin Jepsen 3
Game Information
Attendance - 30010
Game Time - 2:38
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - Dan Bellino, First Base - Mike DiMuro, Second Base - Ted Barrett, Third Base - Alfonso Marquez