Carlos Correa hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the ninth inning and the Houston Astros split a short series against the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels with a 4-2 victory Tuesday.
Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Díaz hit back-to-back homers in the second inning for the Astros, who went an impressive 5-1 on their six-game road trip to start the season amid the incessant booing and jeering they’ll hear indefinitely as fans react to their sign-stealing scandal in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
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After starting pitchers Zack Greinke and Dylan Bundy traded strong innings early, Yordan Álvarez singled in the ninth off new Angels closer Raisel Iglesias (1-1).
Correa then drove a liner off the low video board above the right field wall at Angel Stadium for his first homer of the season.
Mike Trout hit a 464-foot homer in the first inning and Shohei Ohtani had two hits, but the Angels dropped to 4-2 and failed to match the best six-game start in franchise history.
Ryan Pressly (1-0) pitched two scoreless innings for Houston, getting Justin Upton to ground into a game-ending double play.
Angels fans again serenaded the Astros’ veterans with choruses of boos, showing most baseball fans’ anger over Houston’s sign-stealing scandal in 2017 and 2018. Although nobody threw a trash can onto the Angel Stadium field as they did twice Monday night in the series opener, the day crowd included a fan in a full-size Oscar the Grouch costume.
Greinke followed up his six scoreless innings on opening day with seven strong innings of five-hit ball for the Astros.
He dueled to a stalemate with Angels opening day starter Bundy, who struck out 10 over six innings of four-hit ball in another strong outing.
Trout homered in both games against Houston, and his lengthy shot to left in the first inning scored Ohtani. The three-time AL MVP’s homer was traveling 113.2 mph off the bat.
The Astros answered with consecutive homers by Tucker and Díaz off Bundy, who allowed no other hits while racking up nine strikeouts over his first five innings.
Both starting pitchers controlled the middle innings, and Bundy struck out Tucker with his final pitch to strand two Astros in scoring position in the sixth.
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Astros: OF Michael Brantley might have been available to pinch-run or to play defense, manager Dusty Baker said. Houston is hoping he’ll return from his right wrist injury for its home opener Thursday.
Angels: Anaheim native José Rojas made his first major league start, filling in at third base in place of Anthony Rendon, who got a rest day. Rojas went 0 for 2, but reached base for the first time on a seventh-inning walk, Greinke’s first of the season.
Astros: They’ll face far fewer boos Thursday in their home opener when Cristian Javier (0-0, 4.91 ERA) faces Oakland.
Angels: Griffin Canning will make his season debut Thursday in Dunedin, Florida, when the Halos open a four-game series with the displaced Toronto Blue Jays. Canning’s first start was pushed back from Tuesday when he had to warm up in the bullpen last Sunday during a close game with Chicago.