Commanding Fiers: Righty blazes past LA

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HOUSTON — Mike Fiers was different than he had been all season. Buoyed by an effective changeup and a renewed curveball, Fiers had full control of the Astros’ 3-1 win against the Angels on Saturday in Minute Maid Park.

Fiers tossed eight innings of one-run baseball on 7 1/3 innings, striking out eight, walking a pair and giving up two hits and one unearned run against 27 batters in 95 pitches. For the first time since one year ago — June 6 to July 7, 2016 — Fiers (4-2, 4.29 ERA) has won three consecutive starts, and the Astros have won four straight games overall that the tall righty has started.

Fiers’ command on Saturday was the best he’s had all season, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.

“This is the best stuff I think he’s brought into a game this season. It was a combination of everything, but it seemed to be everything was working off his changeup. He could throw it at any count. He threw some nasty ones that looked like split-fingers. He could change pace with it and control at-bats and bat speed. … He was in complete control.”

Hinch on the pitching in win

In the third episode of the trio of consecutive wins, Fiers was, well, on fire. And when he’s able to control the game like Saturday, Fiers said his pitching is among MLB’s best.

“I felt really good,” Fiers said. “I had a really good bullpen before the game and I just knew I was throwing my good stuff. When I feel like that, I feel like I’m one of the best pitchers in the league.”

What was different for Fiers — who has allowed the third-most home runs in MLB at 18 — during his best start this season?

“He changed speeds, had a good breaking ball and change-up going,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

“It’s a different game when you have your control and throwing everything you want where you want,” Fiers said. “Throughout the game there was a couple at-bat where I fell behind some hitters and walked a couple guys, but for the most I had everything going.”

Christian Boutwell is a reporter for based in Houston. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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