HOUSTON – Christian Javier produced another gem, striking out a career-best 14 while allowing just one hit over seven innings to lead the Houston Astros to an 8-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels » on Friday night.
The 25-year-old was brilliant in his first start after striking out 13 in seven innings in a combined no-hitter against the Yankees on Saturday. Shohei Ohtani was the only Angels baserunner allowed by Javier, hitting a two-out homer in the first.
Javier (6-3) went the rest of his outing, retiring the next 19 batters before exiting to a standing ovation after seven innings. He got an assist from his defense when Ches McCormick made a diving catch just in front of the wall in left field in the first of the sixth, robbing Andrew Velazquez of a hit.
A pair of hitters finished with a combined two-hit game, and Houston pitchers struck out a total of 16.
Yuli Gurriel, Jake Meyers and McCormick homered for the Astros as they outscored Angels starter Michael Lorenzen (6-6) for eight runs in just three innings for their fourth straight win.
Ohtani gave the Angels an early lead with his home run before the Astros got going.
They tied the game when Gurriel singled to left-center to start Houston’s second. There was one out in the inning when Meyer hit his first home run of the season into the right field spot to put Houston up 2-1.
Houston scored six times in the third. Jeremy Peña led off the third by reaching on Tyler Wade’s third baseman error, Kyle Tucker followed with a single and Alex Bregman hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Gurriel walked, JJ Matiewicz doubled, Myers followed with an RBI single and McCormick extended the lead to 8-1.
Peña returned after missing Thursday’s game following a nasty on-field collision with Jordan Alvarez on Wednesday, but Alvarez remained sidelined.
Lorenzen allowed eight hits in his third straight loss.
Astros: Houston manager Dusty Baker said Alvarez felt better Friday but was not ready to return and called his status “day to day.” … C Jason Castro was placed on the 10-day injured list with left knee discomfort Friday, and Houston C’s No. 2 prospect Corey Lee was called up from Triple-A Sugar Land to fill his roster spot. Lee made his major league debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and was retired.
Angels catching coach Bill Hasselman will serve as interim manager Sunday and Tuesday while interim manager Ray Montgomery and interim manager Phil Nevin serve suspensions for last week’s bench brawl with the Mariners. RHP Ryan Tepera appealed his suspension for the altercation and had it reduced from three games to two and began serving it Friday night.
Houston’s Jose Urquidi (6-3, 4.36 ERA) faces left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-2, 2.63) when the series resumes Saturday.
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