ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Jose Altuve hit a two-run double in the 12th inning and the Houston Astros, after throwing out Shohei Ohtani at the plate to preserve a tie, broke away to defeat the Los Angeles Angels 9-5 Wednesday night.
Houston, which has won four straight and seven of eight, reduced its magic number to three for clinching its fourth AL West title in five seasons.
Ohtani missed a chance to win it in the 10th when he made an ill-advised run home on David Fletcher’s bases-loaded lineout to shallow right field. Chas McCormick caught Ohtani by several steps with a one-hop throw — the two-way star didn’t slide, tried to avoid the tag and ran past the plate, and easily was tagged out by catcher Jason Castro.
Pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez began the 12th as the automatic runner. He advanced to third on McCormick’s hit to right and scored the go-ahead run on Jake Meyers’ single off Sam Selman (0-1).
Altuve then provided some insurance with a double down the right-field line to make it 8-5. Altuve advanced to third on the throw home and scored on Alex Bregman’s sacrifice fly.
Yordan Alvarez had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in three runs for the Astros. Castro also homered and Luis Garcia tossed six shutout innings.
Yimi Garcia (4-9), the seventh of eight Houston pitchers, got the win.
The Angels, who have dropped six straight, trailed 3-0 going into the seventh before scoring five times. Jack Mayfield provided the key hit with a two-out, three-run double down the right-field line off Kendall Graveman to give Los Angeles a 5-3 lead.
Luis Rengifo had an RBI single to put the Angels on the board. Reliever Phil Maton then walked in another run when Kean Wong checked his swing on a full count.
The Astros quickly responded with a pair of runs in the eighth to tie. Alvarez hit an RBI double and scored on Yuli Gurriel’s single through the hole at shortstop.
The Astros jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Alvarez drove a fastball by Janson Junk 456 feet to the berm in right-center. It was the longest home run of Alvarez’s career and the second-longest by an opposing player at The Big A this season — Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton had a 457-foot drive last month.
Junk had retired 10 straight before Castro led off the fourth with a homer into the elevated stands in right field to give the Astros a three-run advantage.
Luis Garcia, who is making a strong bid for AL Rookie of the Year honors, had his fourth outing where he went at least six innings and didn’t allow a run. The right-hander allowed only three hits and three walks with one strikeout.
Junk, who was acquired from the New York Yankees in the Andrew Heaney trade, went four-plus innings in his third big league start. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. He has allowed five home runs in his three starts.
McCormick denied Mayfield of an RBI base hit with a diving catch in right field to end the third inning.
Astros: OF Michael Brantley (right knee discomfort) is not ready to come off the injured list after testing the knee out before the game. … RHP Jake Odorizzi (right foot soreness) threw a bullpen session and could return to the rotation soon. … C Martin Maldonado got the day off.
Angels: LHP Reid Detmers (COVID list) threw a three-inning simulated game and could be activated during this weekend’s series against Seattle.
The Astros and Angels meet for the final time this season on Thursday. RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA) is tied for fourth in the AL in wins and 10th in strikeouts (176). He will be opposed by Angels RHP Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA), who returned from the injured list and beat the Chicago White Sox in his last start on Sept. 16.
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