Andrew Heaney snapped an extended losing streak in road starts, and Andrelton Simmons backed that effort with a three-run double as the Los Angeles Angels topped the Houston Astros 5-2 on Thursday in the opener of their four-game series at Minute Maid Park.
Heaney (8-8) outdueled Astros right-hander Justin Verlander, allowing five hits and one walk over six innings. Houston managed just one extra-base hit against Heaney, and that came with two outs in the first inning when second baseman Jose Altuve hustled his way into second after a pinball hit reached shallow left field. Altuve was initially ruled out before a replay reversal.
Heaney induced a pair of double-play grounders that erased leadoff singles from George Springer in the first inning and Altuve in the fourth. He retired the side in order in the second and sixth, striking out Carlos Correa to complete his outing.
Heaney was 0-5 with a 5.37 ERA in 12 outings away from Angel Stadium this season. He last won on the road on Sept. 2, 2015, a span of 17 starts.
Simmons struck the biggest blow on his behalf, but his decisive hit did not come against Verlander, who recorded his career-high ninth double-digit strikeout game on the season.
Verlander struck out the side in the fourth and fifth innings but faltered immediately to open the sixth, surrendering a leadoff double to right fielder Kole Calhoun. Mike Trout added a single two batters later that advanced Calhoun to third, and Justin Upton, who struck out in his first two at-bats, followed with an RBI single to right on a two-strike count that chased Verlander.
Two pitchers later, after Astros left-hander Tony Sipp walked Shohei Ohtani to load the bases, Simmons belted a first-pitch curveball from right-hander Will Harris that cleared the bases.
Verlander (13-9) worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits with 11 strikeouts. Of the nine times he’s posted 10-plus strikeouts, Verlander has recorded the win only twice.
–Field Level Media