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Astros beat Angels to earn series sweep

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- There were hoots and hollers heard coming from the Houston Astros' clubhouse after their 2-1 win over the Los Angeles Angels Monday night at Angel Stadium. Such is life for the youngest team in baseball, managed by the youngest manager in baseball, when you sweep a four-game series from a team that began the year with World Series expectations.

Still, Astros manager Bo Porter said he wasn't surprised with how his team is playing.

"No, I look at the talent in that room and I know the talent that we have in that room -- I know the potential of it," Porter said. "It was all a matter of these guys playing to their potential and us coming together as a team. You're starting to see we're coming together."

In a battle of journeyman pitchers, Erik Bedard outdueled Joe Blanton and helped the Astros extend their season-best winning streak to six games.

Bedard (1-2) earned his first victory with the Astros, his fifth major league team, by allowing just one run and five hits through seven innings. It was his first major league victory since Aug. 12, 2012, while he was pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Blanton (1-9) got his first victory as an Angel a couple weeks ago, but Monday was by far his best game as a member of his fourth major league team. He went eight innings and allowed two runs and three hits while striking out 11, tying a career best. He didn't walk a batter.

Blanton made just a couple of mistakes, and they cost him. Chris Carter homered in the fifth inning, and Matt Dominguez doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Barnes in the sixth.

The Angels' only run off Bedard came in the third inning when J.B. Shuck doubled and later scored on Mike Trout's sacrifice fly.

"It's nice to win," Bedard said. "We played great. We had some good starting pitching and that's what you need to win ball games. Play defense, have good starting pitching, score a couple runs an hopefully at the end of the day you get a win. I just went out there and did what I can and we came out on top."

Wesley Wright, Josh Fields and Jose Veras (11th save) combined to shut out the Angels for the final two innings and keep the streak alive. The six-game winning streak is the Astros' longest since July 27-Aug. 3, 2010, and the six-game road winning streak is the franchise's longest since July 2005.

For the Angels, it couldn't get much worse. A four-game sweep at the hands of the team with the worst record in the American League prompted manager Mike Scioscia to hold a team meeting after the game.

"We talked about a couple things," Scioscia said. "You want to keep the focus and the approach where it needs to be. We obviously didn't play well these four games. We're a better team and I think we're going to get there.

"It seems like for these four games, a switch flipped off. We need to get back into the mindset we had last week when we were building momentum and confidence. And that's what our team really should be, and we need to keep working towards that."

The Angels scored a total of eight runs in the four losses to the Astros.

"I wish I can tell you," Angels designated hitter Albert Pujols said when asked what's wrong with the offense. "We're not getting the big hits we were getting the last week or so, and obviously they pitched us pretty well. You say, how can they beat us four times, but it's part of the game and they caught more breaks than we did."

NOTES: Angels RF Josh Hamilton was not in the starting lineup Monday. Manager Mike Scioscia said it was a day off to "recharge," and not related to the back spasms that forced Hamilton out of the lineup twice last week. Hamilton walked as a ninth-inning pinch hitter. ... Trout is the leading vote-getter among American League outfielders so far in results released Monday. Trout, who trails Miguel Cabrera and Robinson Cano in the overall voting, made the All-Star team last season as a reserve. ... Astros OF Justin Maxwell will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday for Double-A Corpus Christi. Maxwell has been on the disabled list since April 24 because of a broken left hand. ... Astros SS Marwin Gonzalez returned to the starting lineup for the first time since May 17, and he went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice. He had been out due to a strained right hamstring. INF Ronny Cedeno started the previous six games at shortstop in Gonzalez's place and hit .158 (3-for-19).

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