ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Andrew Heaney struck out 10 during a career-high eight innings of four-hit ball, and the Los Angeles Angels pulled virtually even with Houston atop the AL West with a 2-1 victory over the Astros on Monday night.
Justin Upton singled home the tiebreaking run in the sixth inning for the Angels (25-16), who beat the defending World Series champions (26-17) for the third time in four meetings this season.
Houston native Justin Anderson allowed three baserunners in the ninth, but the Angels rookie still earned his first career save with help from Kole Calhoun. The right fielder caught Alex Bregman’s long fly in foul territory and then threw out George Springer trying to take second, completing a double play with his major league-leading sixth outfield assist.
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Andrew Heaney throws against the Houston Astros during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Anderson then allowed Jose Altuve’s single and walked Carlos Correa, but survived when Yuli Gurriel grounded out.
Heaney (2-2) produced the most impressive start of his career against the powerhouse Astros, who have scored just one earned run against Heaney in 19 career innings over three games.
Heaney limited Houston to five baserunners over eight innings while outpitching Lance McCullers Jr. (5-2), who took his first loss in seven starts since April 6. Heaney matched his career high for strikeouts when he fanned Josh Reddick in the eighth before leaving to a standing ovation.
The 26-year-old Heaney returned late last season from Tommy John surgery, and he is gradually rounding into the form long expected from the former ninth overall selection in the 2012 draft.
Max Stassi drove in an early run for the Astros, who lost for only the second time in seven games.
McCullers pitched six innings of four-hit ball while striking out six.
Luis Valbuena drove in an early run for the Angels in the opener of a three-game series between the defending champs and their most significant early-season rival in the AL West. The Angels entered the week trailing the Astros by just one game after trailing Houston by eight games at the same point last season.
In the sixth, McCullers walked Martin Maldonado and Mike Trout before Upton’s two-out single to left. The RBI was the 19th of the month for Upton, who came into the night leading the majors in RBIs in May.
Reliever Keynan Middleton went back on the 10-day disabled list with ligament damage in his right elbow, dealing another potentially serious blow to a pitching staff annually plagued by injuries. Middleton left Sunday’s game in the middle of an at-bat after just 12 pitches. He is expected to seek more medical advice before deciding on a course of treatment.
Griffin Canning, the Angels’ second-round pick last summer, started his second combined no-hitter of the season for Double-A Mobile. Canning, a UCLA product, threw 4 1/3 innings as the BayBears blanked Birmingham 9-0.
Astros Gerrit Cole (4-1, 1.43 ERA) is off to a stellar start with his new club, leading the AL with 86 strikeouts. The Orange County native and UCLA product will make just his second career start at Angel Stadium, where his parents had season tickets.
Angels Rookie Jaime Barria (3-1, 2.45 ERA) makes his fifth career start after pitching scoreless ball into the sixth at Colorado last week.
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Los Angeles Angels’ Martin Maldonado slides into home plate to score on a single by Justin Upton as Houston Astros catcher Max Stassi waits for the throw during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve sings in the dugout before the team’s baseball game with the Los Angeles Angels, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve, top, throws to first base to compete a double play after forcing out Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Valbuena during the second inning of a baseball game, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani, left, of Japan, and Albert Pujols celebrate their team’s 2-1 win against the Houston Astros in a baseball game, Monday, May 14, 2018, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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