Astros 5, Angels 0

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HOUSTON (AP)—The Houston Astros finally broke out on offense. The Anaheim Angels just broke down—again.

Pete Munro combined with three relievers on a five-hitter, and Jeff Kent drove in three runs to lead the Houston Astros to a 5-0 victory over the Anaheim Angels on Friday night.

The Astros snapped a four-game losing streak and gave manager Jimy Williams his 900th career victory. Williams is 900-778 in the majors.

“It’s something positive for us to build on,” Williams said. “There are a lot of people out there in the clubhouse that are feeling pretty good right now. I’m one of them, and all the coaches, too.”

Munro (1-0) allowed three hits, struck out three and walked one in 6 1-3 innings in his second start of the season, and fourth appearance.

“I was joking with some of the pitchers before the game. I told them if they threw a shutout, we can’t lose,” first baseman Jeff Bagwell said. “And that’s what we did. Pete Munro came up huge.”

Dan Miceli, Brad Lidge and Octavio Dotel combined for the Astros’ fifth shutout this season.

“We needed the win, we needed someone to come in and throw zeros,” Munro said. “I was able to do it tonight. I was on a good role tonight. There wasn’t that much stress on my legs. I still felt strong.”

Was he ready to leave?

“Well, when Jimy struts out there you kind of have an idea if he’s coming to talk or not,” Munro said.

Kent had an RBI double and a two-run RBI triple, and Bagwell hit his 10th homer for the Astros, who sent the Angels to their 10th loss in 13 games.

“Our last 20 games or so, our offense that had been so consistent before that has hit some bumps in the road,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We haven’t been able to put pressure on the other team. Our guys have to understand that they’re not going to end this drought with one swing of the bat. It’s going to happen with good at-bats, singles and drawing walks when they’re called for.”

Kent’s double in the fifth gave Houston a 1-0 lead. He scored on Jason Lane’s groundout three batters later.

Kent gave Houston a 4-0 lead in the sixth with a two-run triple off Kelvim Escobar (4-3), who allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings. He tied a career high with seven walks, and struck out six.

“People have forgotten that we had a 14-day roadtrip and we were .500 on it,” Kent said. “Too many people are focusing on the negative. We still have nearly 100 games to play. We’re trying to do everything we can to win. These wins are always good. We got swept out by the Cubs and we needed this.”

Bagwell homered in the eighth off Brendan Donnelly.

Jose Vizcaino, who went 4-for-5, started the fifth with a single. After Lance Berkman struck out, Kent doubled to right-center scoring Vizcaino. Bagwell walked and Mike Lamb singled, loading the bases. Lane’s fielder’s choice grounder scored Kent.

Vizcaino singled and Berkman walked in the sixth, and Kent drove them home with a triple for a 4-0 lead.

“That’s what I’ve been working for,” Vizcaino said. “The last couple of months I’ve not played too much. Now I’m getting to play so I’m seeing more at-bats, and that’s the reason I’ve been hitting better.”

Vizcaino has hit .441 in his last 11 games.

“We were able to pitch great and when you shut them out you don’t needclutch hits, really,” Kent said.

Notes

The series with Anaheim leaves Toronto as the only franchise the Astros have never played. … Anaheim has played its projected every day lineup only once, on April 17. The Angels have placed 10 players on the disabled list this season. Five currently are on the list. … Astros shortstop Adam Everett, sidelined with an injured left hamstring, ran before Friday’s game. GM Gerry Hunsicker said the progress was encouraging, but Everett likely wouldn’t play in the series against the Angels. … Astros LHP Andy Pettitte, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained forearm, allowed three hits and two earned runsFriday in a rehab assignment at Double-A Round Rock.

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