HOUSTON (AP) — Alex Bregman changed his approach, and his results.
Bregman hit his career-high 32nd homer and Wade Miley earned his seventh straight win as the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 Saturday night.
“I’ve been chasing a little higher rate lately because I think I was trying to chase hits, I guess, instead of chase good pitches to hit,” Bregman said. “I kind of made that adjustment today and started swinging at pitches I could hit.”
Bregman upped the lead to 5-0 with a three-run homer in the third — the All-Star infielder hit 31 home runs last season.
“His year is excellent,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. “The way he’s gone about it, the way he’s responded to a few different parts of his season has been very mature. It’s really ironic he’s having a ton of success and getting a lot of hits, yet he’s still chasing quite a bit which is leaving him a little hungry to figure out the best version of himself.”
The AL-West leading Astros tied the New York Yankees for the best record in the AL at 84-47. The Angels lost their fourth in a row.
Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a two-run homer in the first inning.
Miley (13-4) yielded one run on five hits with four strikeouts over five innings. He retired the first nine batters before David Fletcher doubled to lead off the fourth.
Miley ran into trouble in the fifth, loading the bases with two outs, but induced a flyout by Mike Trout to end the inning.
“I was locating the ball really well,” Miley said. “That was a weird fifth inning. It happened a lot early. I kind of lost command a little bit. I wasn’t landing pitches where I wanted to, but end of the day, we walk out of here with a win.”
Will Harris pitched the ninth for his first save of the season.
Luis Rengifo hit a solo home run in the Angels fifth. Trout cut the lead to 5-2 with an RBI single in the seventh.
“We’ve had chances, for sure,” Trout said. “We lost some tough ones in Texas, obviously we had our chances tonight and yesterday.”
Dillon Peters (3-2) allowed five runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. The left-hander gave up five runs for a second straight start.
“That’s his track record, when he locates he has the ability to pitch really well, when he doesn’t that’s when he gets in trouble,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “That’s what happened today.”
Angels: RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani (Tommy John) threw a bullpen Saturday. “Curveball and slider, fastball looked good,” Ausmus said. “He looked free and easy.” Ausmus added that for now, Ohtani will continue throwing bullpens. … RHP Keynan Middleton (Tommy John) will continue his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday after allowing one hit and striking out one in an inning on Friday night.
Astros: INF Aledmys Díaz began a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Round Rock. He went 0 for 4. … RHP Josh James (shoulder soreness) will continue his rehabilitation assignment on Sunday with Round Rock. … RHP Brady Rodgers cleared waivers and was unconditionally released. He was designated for assignment on Thursday.
YORDAN HITS SCOREBOARD
Houston rookie Yordan Alvarez launched a home run during batting practice that hit the bottom right hand corner of the Astros’ massive scoreboard above right field. The monster drive darkened a panel on the board. During the first inning, a message in that corner of the scoreboard read “Alvarez hit the ball here during BP.”
“I was definitely not thinking about that, but from the time I’ve been here, the players have been asking me ‘When are you going to hit one off the scoreboard? When are you going to do that,'” Alvarez said through a translator. “I was just trying to hit the ball hard, and it ended up hitting the scoreboard.”
Angels: RHP Jaime Barria (4-6, 6.35 ERA) starts the finale of the three-game series on Sunday looking to build off his last start in the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Rangers in which he allowed two runs over five innings.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (3-6, 5.58) will be recalled from Triple-A Round Rock and start on Sunday. Valdez has lost four straight starts with the Astros, with his last start July 15 against the Angels.