Six games of elite pitching helped the Los Angeles Angels blow by their main competition for AL West supremacy.
They now head out on the road against some of the AL's worst teams, beginning a 10-game trip Tuesday night with Houston as Astros interim manager Tom Lawless takes over for the fired Bo Porter.
The Angels (83-53) completed a four-game sweep of Oakland with Sunday's 8-1 victory to match their season-best winning streak of six, over which they've posted a 1.15 ERA.
Mike Trout went 2 for 4 with his career-high 31st home run and three RBIs to match his career high of 97 from last season. Catcher Chris Iannetta left the yard for a second straight game after totaling five homers in his first 87 of the season.
"We're having fun and we're winning ballgames ...," said Trout, who is a career .220 hitter at Minute Maid Park. "Can't get too excited yet."
Nine of the 10 games on the trip will be played against three of the worst teams in the AL - Houston, Minnesota and Texas - and Los Angeles is an MLB-best 15-4 since Aug. 12. The Angels have won 10 of their last 14 games in Houston as well as 10 of 14 overall in the season series.
C.J. Wilson will take the ball to get the trip started. Wilson (10-8, 4.46 ERA) lost his first two outings in August but is 2-0 with a 2.63 ERA in four starts since. He allowed three runs and 10 baserunners in 5 2-3 innings Thursday in a 4-3, 10-inning win over Oakland.
Control remains an issue as the left-hander has issued 22 walks in 34 2-3 innings over seven starts since last facing the Astros on July 4. Wilson was tagged for three home runs while allowing six runs in 4 1-3 innings of that 7-6 home win.
In Houston, Wilson is 3-2 with a 2.84 ERA in six career starts. Chris Carter is 8 for 22 with two home runs against him while Jose Altuve (4 for 21) and Matt Dominguez (3 for 18) have struggled.
The Astros (59-79) used Monday's off day to switch things up at the top by firing Porter and bench coach Dave Trembley. Lawless joins the big league club after serving as the organization's roving infield instructor while also filling in as manager at Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the season.
"I made this decision because I believe we need a new direction in our clubhouse," general manager Jeff Luhnow said in a statement on the team's official website. "What we will seek going forward is a consistent and united message throughout the entire organization. It is essential that as an organization we create an atmosphere at the major league level where our young players can come up and continue to develop and succeed."
Lawless takes over after the team won three of four against Texas, including Sunday's 3-2 victory behind a four-hit effort by Altuve to cap the Astros' 15-14 August. The second baseman has a nine-game hitting streak and is batting .355 over his last 15.
Dominguez went 2 for 4 with a home run and two RBIs after enduring a 1-for-20 skid in his previous eight games.
Brad Peacock takes the mound in his new skipper's debut, though his recent starts have provided little room for optimism. Peacock (3-8, 5.13) is 0-3 with a 7.53 ERA over his last seven starts with 18 walks in 28 2-3 innings. He surrendered a run and four hits with five walks in 5 1-3 innings while not factoring in the decision of Wednesday's 5-4 loss to Oakland.
In two starts and two relief appearances against Los Angeles over the last two seasons, the right-hander is 2-0 with a 5.17 ERA.
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