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Angels complete 6-0 road trip

The SportsXchange

HOUSTON - The Houston Astros have been committing errors by the bushel this season, and, against a team as locked in as the Los Angeles Angels, the results from the Astros' miscues were easily predictable.

The Astros' major-league-worst defense was guilty of two errors for a third consecutive game, faltering at the most inopportune time in the Angels' 3-1 victory Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

The win capped the Angels' first unbeaten road trip of at least six games since Sept. 3-8, 2002. Their six-game road win streak is a season best.

"(This week) was a fantastic road trip for us," Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson said. "To do this is really big. We have that confidence brewing. We overcame some mistakes ... but still won because we broke through late in the game."

The Angels (39-43) followed a three-game sweep of the American League Central-leading Detroit Tigers with a sweep of the AL West cellar-dwelling Astros (30-52) by relying on strong starting pitching.

Wilson (8-5) allowed one unearned run on three hits and three walks while striking out 10 over seven sharp innings. It marked his 12th career 10-plus-strikeout performance, the third of this season, and his second against the Astros, the first being an 11-strikeout effort on June 3.

Wilson and right-handed starters Jerome Williams and Joe Blanton combined to allow four runs (three earned) on 11 hits and eight walks with 19 strikeouts over 20 1/3 innings during the weekend series.

"The whole road trip we pitched well," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think for the last probably month our starting pitching has come together giving us chances to win. It's helped our bullpen to form roles.

"They're pitching deep enough into the game where we can establish some depth in the bullpen, and that's really important for us."

The Angels snapped a 1-all tie in the eighth inning off Astros right-hander Jose Cisnero (2-1), with second baseman Howie Kendrick reaching on a leadoff single and scoring when Josh Hamilton doubled to the left-center field gap. Astros shortstop Jake Elmore fielded the relay throw and had an opportunity to erase Kendrick at the plate, but his errant toss allowed Kendrick to score with ease. Hamilton, who had advanced to third as Elmore set to throw home, also scored on the error.

The Astros entered play on Sunday ranked last in the majors with 65 errors and a .979 fielding percentage. Elmore, a utility infielder, and veteran shortstop Ronny Cedeno have been especially erratic of late.

"Two of the most important fundamentals in baseball are throwing and catching," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "If you give teams extra men on base, odds are at some point those guys are going to score. We have to do a better job of protecting the baseball."

Houston scored its lone run in the sixth inning on a throwing error by Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo, who fielded a line drive from Jose Altuve but then threw wildly to first base attempting to double off Elmore. Center fielder Brandon Barnes scored from third on the play.

Astros right-hander Lucas Harrell rebounded nicely from a miserable outing against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, allowing one run on six hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven innings.

Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo accounted for that lone run with an opposite-field homer, his 18th, with one out in the fourth.

Aside from that blast, Harrell allowed just one additional extra-base hit, a two-out triple by Kendrick in the third. He took a line drive off the bat of Kendrick flush on his left shin to open the sixth inning, but Harrell remained in the game and worked two more scoreless frames.

"It was a sinker that was supposed to be in," Harrell said. "It was like slow motion, where my brain was trying to tell me to get the glove down but it didn't do it. My next reaction was to try to get out of the way. I moved my leg back a little, but it still got me pretty good. It really hit me solid. It was right on the bone, and it's still pretty sore."

NOTES: Astros outfielder Justin Maxwell was placed on the 7-day disabled list with concussion-related symptoms. Maxwell suffered a mild concussion last Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals and has appeared in only one game since the injury. ... Astros first baseman/designated hitter Carlos Pena will miss the next two games due to a death in the family. He will not be placed on the bereavement list. ... Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos will be placed on the 15-day disabled list with a nondisplaced fracture of his right wrist, an injury suffered when Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles hit Bourjos with a pitch on Saturday.

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