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Gonzalez homers again as surging Astros beat Angels 8-3

NEWS
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61   //    26 Aug 2018, 11:27 IST
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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Marwin Gonzalez was at his best again, homering for the eighth time this month. Justin Verlander didn't have his best stuff, but he did just enough.

Gonzalez and Verlander proved to be a winning combination as they led the Houston Astros to an 8-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.

Gonzalez hit a solo home run to left-center field off reliever Williams Jerez to lead off the four-run eighth inning. Gonzalez has 14 home runs this season, including eight in August. The Astros had been clinging to a one-run lead before he opened the eighth with that homer.

"Marwin is a great player," teammate Jose Altuve said. "He did it last year. He's been doing it a long time. Sometimes, people get surprised by what he does. Not me, because I've seen him play this good."

The Astros (79-50) are in first place in the AL West and have won four consecutive games and five of their last six. They're the best road team in baseball, improving to 17-5 in California. The Astros are 6-2 against the Angels this season. The Angels have lost five consecutive games.

Verlander allowed three runs in six innings, but he was staked to an early 3-0 lead and the offense picked him up.

"Awesome. Those guys backed me up today," Verlander said. "Today was a battle for me physically. Didn't feel great for whatever reason. One of those games you take pride in battling, knowing I didn't have anywhere near my best stuff."

Altuve was hit in the elbow by a fastball from Justin Anderson in the seventh, but remained in the game. Ohtani was then hit in the backside by Roberto Osuna in the eighth and both benches were warned. Deck McGuire hit Yuli Gurriel in the leg in the ninth inning and was ejected. Angels manager Mike Scioscia was also ejected.

"I would like to think the pitch was not on purpose. I'm not sure about that," Ohtani said through an interpreter. "We hit their guy. I'm sure it wasn't on purpose. It's part of baseball. It happens."

McGuire said there was no intent behind his pitch, either.

"I was just trying to go in ... to a guy who likes to dive over the plate and I missed down the middle, and I'm just trying to make sure it didn't happen again," McGuire said. "It's unfortunate in that situation that (bench) warnings had been issued because there was no intent on my part."

Verlander (13-8) had thrown 26 consecutive scoreless innings against the Angels this season before Shohei Ohtani homered against him in the fourth inning on the first pitch of the at-bat. It was Ohtani's 14th home run of the season, eight shy of his career best in Japan in 2016.

Verlander allowed six hits and struck out six and walked two. He was grooving until the fourth when Ohtani hit a two-run homer to center field. Andrelton Simmons hit a run-scoring triple off Verlander in the sixth.

Ohtani was caught stealing for the first time this season. He was thrown out at third by catcher and friend Martin Maldonado, who was traded by the Angels in July. Maldonado was smiling plenty afterward.

Jaime Barria (8-8) had a rough outing, lasting just three innings after he gave up four runs on five hits. It was his shortest outing since he threw just two innings in a loss against San Francisco on April 22.

CHECK PLEASE

One day after showing off a million-dollar receipt for being a "Dodger killer" for his lunch from The Beverly Hills Hotel on Friday, Verlander revealed that his meal was comped. The hotel jokingly charged him an extra $1 million since Houston beat the Dodgers to win the World Series last year. The receipt went viral, for many things, including how expensive the items were, like the $30 pancakes, $42 chicken salad and $10 cranberry juice.

"The manager came over and we ended up laughing about it," Verlander said. "They actually ended up comping the meal. Everyone was talking about how expensive the pancakes were and the salad. It was comped. It worked out well for both sides."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Astros: OF George Springer (quadriceps) is expected to get an at-bat Saturday or Sunday. A decision will be made by Monday whether he will go on the disabled list or not. He has missed five consecutive games. ... INF Gonzalez (sore knee) is still in the lineup but experiencing some soreness.

Angels: RHP/DH Ohtani (strained right elbow) threw a 21-pitch bullpen session on Saturday. He is scheduled to throw a simulated game next week. ... LHP Tyler Skaggs (left adductor strain) played catch again Saturday. ... C Rene Rivera (bee sting) was stung on his arm during Friday's game when he threw a ball back to the mound. He stayed in the game.

UP NEXT

Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his first career start and second appearance. He threw 4 1/3 innings in relief in his Major League debut Tuesday, allowing one unearned run on two hits and struck out four.

Angels: RHP Felix Pena (1-3, 4.53) struck out 12 in his last start but gave up four earned runs in six innings in the Angels' 5-4 loss in Arizona on Tuesday.

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