HOUSTON (AP) — Shohei Ohtani hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the eighth inning, and the Los Angeles Angels edged the Houston Astros 2-1 on Sunday to avoid a four-game series sweep.
Ohtani was hitless before clubbing a pitch from Phil Maton (0-1) off the wall in right field, driving in Gio Urshela for a 2-1 lead. The clutch swing gave Ohtani 41 RBIs on the season.
“Just a really good at-bat understanding what the pitcher is trying to do,” Angels manager Phil Nevin said. “Maton is one of the toughest against a lefty in all of baseball. … It worked out for us.”
Luis Rengifo hit his third homer for Los Angeles, which stopped a three-game slide.
“He’s really swinging it well,” Nevin said. “Three hits last night and a big home run today. To me he’s been very selective, swinging at the right pitches and got the good part of the barrel on one today.”
Chris Devenski (3-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win against his first major league team, and Carlos Estévez got four outs for his 14th save.
“Everyone did what they had to do and it feels good to get a team win like this and playing really well like this against the Astros,” Estévez said. “That’s pretty cool.”
Yainer Diaz connected for Houston, and Alex Bregman also had two hits. Bregman extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Diaz’s leadoff drive in the fifth against Griffin Canning put the Astros in front. But Rengifo went deep in the sixth for the Angels’ first hit of the game against J.P. France.
“It was just one of those things,” France said. “It wasn’t a great pitch, he put a good swing on it. But after that just cleared it and decided to keep on rolling.”
Canning allowed four hits, struck out four and walked one in six innings. It was his fourth straight start of allowing three or fewer runs.
“After the first three games you want to try and put a stop to things,” Canning said. “It was nice to go out there, just on a really good page with (Matt) Thaiss behind the plate and then some timely hitting, obviously, and then the bullpen came in and shut it down.”
France pitched a career-best seven innings in his sixth major league start. He yielded three hits, struck out three and walked one.
“He was throwing quality pitches all day and also that was the furthest he’s gone for us,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “You hate to waste that pitching performance but their guy was pretty good too.”
Angels: 3B Anthony Rendon (left groin strain) is expected to be activated either Tuesday or Wednesday, according to Nevin.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve was held out of the lineup for a second straight game after experience an oblique issue after an awkward swing on Friday night. Altuve did run and throw prior to Sunday’s game but did not hit. Baker said Altuve is day to day.
Angels: Off Monday before opening a six-game homestand. Following Sunday’s game, Nevin set the rotation for the Cubs series and LHP Tyler Anderson (2-1, 5.47 ERA) will start Tuesday.
Astros: RHP Brandon Bielak (2-2, 3.19 ERA) will open Houston’s seven-game road trip on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Bielak matched a career high in strikeouts with six in his last start, which came in a win against the Twins.
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