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“We played with emotion for a lot of reasons,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “Obviously, it’s just a game, but it’s a big win for us, and I thought our guys played really hard and took a game when we could’ve just sort of backed down, took it on the chin and got back on the plane for Texas. I’m proud of our group. Obviously, kind of a tough day.”
The Angels erased a four-run deficit and took a 5-4 lead on Luis Valbuena‘s two-run home run in the sixth, but McCann’s first triple of the season put the Astros back in front two innings later. After loading the bases with two outs against Cam Bedrosian, McCann hammered a first-pitch fastball off the center-field wall, just out of the reach of a leaping Mike Trout, driving in three runs and lifting the Astros to victory.
“We’re professionals, this is what we do,” McCann said about trying to maintain focus despite the news coming out of Houston. “We’ve got to come out here and play baseball. It’s tough, but this is our job.”
The Angels threatened in the ninth, loading the bases with two outs against Astros closer Ken Giles, but Albert Pujols lined out to center field to end the game. The loss dropped the Angels 1 1/2 games behind the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot.
Jose Altuve finished 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs, while Josh Reddick collected three hits.
Houston right-hander Charlie Morton blanked the Angels through the first four innings before Ben Revere got the Halos back in the game with a bases-clearing double in the fifth that cut the Astros’ lead to 4-3. Morton departed after allowing three runs on four hits while walking one and striking out five over five innings.
Angels righty Ricky Nolasco surrendered a two-run homer to Altuve in the first and then allowed two more runs in the fourth behind four consecutive singles from the Astros, but he rebounded by retiring the final eight batters he faced and managed to get through six innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Valbuena clubs 100th career homer: Valbuena gave the Angels their first lead of the afternoon by belting a two-run homer off Joe Musgrove in the sixth. Pujols reached on a single before Valbuena crushed a 1-2 changeup to right field. Valbuena now has 17 home runs this season, including 11 since the All-Star break.
Altuve’s infield single: Bedrosian came in to pitch the eighth with the Angels clinging to a one-run lead and promptly struck out George Springer and Alex Bregman for the first two outs of the inning. But Altuve then legged out an infield single to short, setting the stage for the Astros’ big inning. Altuve advanced to third on Reddick’s single, and Yuli Gurriel followed with a walk to load the bases for McCann.
“When you’re around the big leagues all the time, you see some things you love and some things you don’t,” Hinch said. “That’s in the category of what you love. … It sets up the entire inning.”
“Give credit to Jose for obviously busting it down the line,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He felt it before anybody did, that he hit the ball off the end. I think that as he got that jump on the ball, he made a play much more difficult than it could have been. Andrelton [Simmons] came and got it and made the throw, but Altuve was already there and just barely beat the play.”
“This was for the city. It wasn’t just what’s going on with our friends and family in Houston, it was for the people back home in front of a TV watching. They were pulling for us. It’s a big deal. Sports teams have the ability to back a city, to rally around something.” — Morton, on the Astros getting the win while monitoring the situation in Houston
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
After going 0-for-3 on Sunday, Trout is now hitless in his last 17 at-bats, one shy of his career-worst drought.
“At the plate, it’s just missing pitches,” Trout said. “I’m having good at-bats, just getting pitches to hit and fouling them off.” More >
Astros: Mike Fiers is set to open a three-game series against the Rangers at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. The Astros are set to fly into Dallas on Sunday and assess their travel plans for the series as Houston continues to be affected by major flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
Angels: The Angels will begin a three-game series against the A’s on Monday night at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Left-hander Andrew Heaney will start the opener in his third outing since returning from Tommy John surgery.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles and covered the Astros on Sunday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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