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By Joe Haakenson, The Sports Xchange April 14, 2013 12:50 AM
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Albert Pujols hit a two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Luis Jimenez and Mike Trout and give the Los Angeles Angels a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Angel Stadium. The Angels trailed 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth and appeared headed for their sixth loss in a row. But they put up two in the eighth to set up Pujols' heroics in the ninth. Jimenez walked with one out, and one out later Trout had an infield single. Pujols then hit a hard ground ball inside third and into the left-field corner off Astros closer Jose Veras, with the speedy Trout easily scoring the winning run from first base, appropriately enough on Mike Trout bobblehead night. Houston's Chris Carter hit a two-run homer off Angels starter Garrett Richards for a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Josh Hamilton hit his first home run with for the Angels, off Astros starter Lucas Harrell, in the sixth, snapping the Angels' 19-inning scoreless streak. It was all Harrell allowed in 5 2/3 innings. The Astros added two runs in the seventh for what seemed like a comfortable 4-1 lead. The Angels snapped their five-game losing streak and the Astros' winning streak ended at three. Michael Roth, called up from Class AA Arkansas and making his major-league debut, pitched 1 2/3 innings of relief to get the win for the Angels. Both starting pitchers were in control early. Harrell retired the first six batters he faced until Chris Iannetta led off the bottom of the third with a single. Iannetta went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Andrew Romine and to third on a passed ball. One out later, J.B. Shuck walked, but Trout grounded out to shortstop to end the inning. Richards, filling the spot in the rotation for injured Jered Weaver, retired the first nine batters he faced before Jose Altuve walked to lead off the fourth. One out later, Jason Castro hit a sharp grounder to Howie Kendrick at second base, a potential inning-ending double play. But Kendrick bobbled the ball and could only get Castro at first. It turned out to be costly for the Angels as Carter followed with a two-out, two-run homer to center, the ball just out of the reach of a leaping Trout. The Angels threatened again in the fifth, getting a leadoff single from Kendrick and a two-out bloop double by No. 9 hitter Luis Jimenez. But Harrell escaped by striking out Shuck, stranding the Angels' base runners at second and third and keeping the Astros' 2-0 intact. NOTES: Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday because of a bruised left heel, suffered while beating out an infield hit on April 9. Aybar, who is hitting .321 (9 for 28), is eligible to return April 25. With Aybar out, Romine and Brendan Harris will share the shortstop duties. ... Shuck, optioned to triple-A Salt Lake just a day earlier, replaced Aybar on the roster and started Saturday in left field, batting leadoff. With Shuck in left field, Trout moved to center and Peter Bourjos went to the bench. Shuck got the call to turn back before boarding his flight to Salt Lake City. ... Angels right-hander Kevin Jepsen was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right shoulder. Jepsen has dealt with shoulder soreness since spring training and has been hit hard recently, giving up four runs, four hits and one walk in the last two appearances, covering just two-thirds of an inning. Replacing Jepsen on the roster and in the bullpen is Michael Roth, who was called up from Class AA Arkansas. Roth was a starter at Arkansas and will serve in long relief with the Angels. ... Astros first baseman Brett Wallace was back in the starting lineup Saturday. Wallace began the day hitting .048 (1 for 21) and was hitless in his previous 19 at-bats. ... Altuve and center fielder Justin Maxwell have served as a productive 1-2 punch at the top of the Astros' lineup. Going into Saturday's game against the Angels, Altuve was hitting .364 (16 for 44) with a .391 on-base percentage and Maxwell was hitting .359 (14 for 39) with a .419 on-base percentage. As a result, the Astros have scored more runs in the first inning than any other inning this season.