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Sports Headlines

August 19, 2013

Matt Dominguez drives Astros past Angels again 7-5

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Matt Dominguez took no offense when the Angels intentionally walked a .247-hitting catcher so they could pitch to him in the seventh inning of a tie game.

After all, playing for the Houston Astros these days is filled with all types of indignities.

On the very next pitch, Dominguez took a swing that thrilled his family and capped the Astros' best week in a long while.

Dominguez hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning, and Houston won back-to-back series for the first time in nearly two months with a 7-5 victory over Los Angeles on Sunday.

Dominguez tied his career high with four hits in his native Southern California, while L.J. Hoes had his first career homer among his three hits in the major league-worst Astros' fourth win in six games.

Dominguez homered after Angels reliever Juan Gutierrez (0-4) walked Carlos Corporan, and the Astros hung on to their seventh win over Los Angeles this season.

"They just wanted a matchup, I think," said Dominguez, a San Fernando Valley native who left 15 tickets for family. "He hung the slider, and I got it good. Feels good. I guess they had confidence they could get me out more than they did Carlos. That's how baseball is. No hard feelings or anything. I'll just go up and try to do what I can."

Slowly, the young Astros are getting things done. They scored 20 runs while taking two of three games at the Big A, winning with offense after a pitching-dominated series earlier in the week in Oakland, where they also took two of three from the Athletics.

"At some point, we're going to start to get our breaks," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "We're swinging the bats real well, and we're getting good starting pitching."

Brett Oberholtzer (3-1) blew an early three-run lead, but pitched six effective innings during Houston's sixth win in seven games at Angel Stadium. He gave up seven hits and struck out four in his fourth major league start, even retiring nine of his final 10 batters after Hamilton's tying homer.

Oberholtzer attributes the Astros' recent success to "staying loose. I think we're playing with a little swagger, a little confidence about ourselves."

That's in short supply for the Angels (55-68), who have lost 11 of 16 and 23 of 34 — yet Houston (41-82) is still 14 games behind Los Angeles for fourth place in the AL West.

Mike Trout had two hits for the Angels before leaving in the sixth inning with right hamstring tightness.

Josh Hamilton homered and tripled for Los Angeles to follow up his extra-inning homer Saturday night, while Mark Trumbo drove in three runs and hit his 28th homer late in the Angels' sixth loss in eight games.

"It's frustrating losing to anybody," said Hamilton, who delivered his 19th homer. "It doesn't matter who it is. If it was the Yankees in here today, or the Rangers, it would be just as frustrating. It's one of those things where you're playing a team with that kind of a record, but you don't want to relax or take anything for granted. I'm not saying that we're doing that, but some years, some teams have your number. That's how it goes."

Trout went 2 for 3 with a third-inning double, but left the game after flying out in the fifth. The Angels' All-Star outfielder reached base for the 40th straight game, extending the majors' longest current streak.

"It's all right. I'm just sore," said Trout, second in the AL at with a .333 average. "It's not like it popped or anything. It was just a little grabbing, so it shouldn't be too serious. ... I'll see how it is tomorrow. I came out just because I didn't want it to get worse. It's definitely frustrating when you can't be out there. For me as a speed guy, I've got to take care of my legs."

Houston boosted its lead to 7-3 in the eighth on Jose Altuve's sacrifice fly. Trumbo trimmed the deficit with his two-run shot to left off Jordan Lyles, the Astros' scheduled Monday starter, who pitched 2 1-3 innings of relief before leaving with two runners on in the ninth.

Rookie Kevin Chapman got pinch-hitter Peter Bourjos to ground into a game-ending double play, earning his first career save.

Jason Vargas recovered from an awful beginning to his first home start in two months to pitch into the sixth for the Angels, allowing seven hits — all in the first three innings. The left-hander walked three and struck out three in his second start since returning from injury.

Hoes homered in his 19th major league game, drilling a one-out shot in the first inning.

NOTES: Lyles unexpectedly made his first relief appearance of the season. Porter said RHP Lucas Harrell will start the series opener at Texas on Monday night. ... Dominguez also had four hits July 31. ... Hamilton's triple was his first since May 21. ... Gutierrez, who made his major league debut with Houston in 2007, struck out four during his 1 2-3 innings.

 

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