HOUSTON -- Left-hander Tyler Skaggs excelled in his first appearance with the Los Angeles Angels in what is his second tour of duty with the organization, stifling the Houston Astros 5-1 on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Skaggs (1-0), reacquired by the Angels on Dec. 10, 2013, after being drafted by the club and subsequently traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 7, 2010, allowed one unearned run on four hits and one walk while striking out five over eight exceptional innings. Skaggs threw 95 pitches, 63 for strikes, and faced the minimum over his last three innings while retiring the final eight batters he faced.
Skaggs' lone blemish came in the first inning when Astros left fielder Jesus Guzman scorched a line drive off the glove of third baseman John McDonald, scoring Jose Altuve from second base with two outs. Skaggs responded by retiring the side in order in the second and fourth innings before cruising to the finish after his leadoff walk to Altuve in the sixth.
Right-hander Joe Smith worked a scoreless ninth for the Angels (2-3).
The Angels carved some breathing room in the fourth when left fielder Josh Hamilton homered to right field with one on before adding an insurance run in the eighth. The Astros (2-3), conversely, have scored seven runs over their last 41 innings after scoring six in their first two Tuesday night in their season-opening win over the New York Yankees.
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel labored with baserunners all game long, allowing at least one in every inning besides the fourth. He finally came undone in the fifth inning.
Even in that frame Keuchel appeared poised to escape, striking out center fielder Mike Trout and first baseman Albert Pujols after Collin Cowgill reached on a leadoff double. However, designated hitter David Freese followed with an RBI single and left fielder Josh Hamilton crushed a first-pitch slider into the seats in right field for a two-run home run. The Hamilton blast, his second of the series and season, pushed the Angels' lead to 4-1.
Keuchel allowed 10 baserunners (eight hits, two walks) over his five innings.
NOTES -- RHP Roy Oswalt and OF/1B Lance Berkman officially retired as Astros and were honored by the club in a pregame ceremony. Oswalt (163-102 over 13 season) went 143-82 over 10 season with the Astros and finished in the top five in Cy Young Award voting five times. Berkman produced a .296/.410/.549 slash line with 326 home runs and 1,090 RBIs in 12 seasons with Houston. He was a five-time All-Star and finished in the top five of MVP voting four times with the Astros. ... Astros CF Dexter Fowler remained hospitalized with gastroenteritis. Fowler might be released on Sunday but his return to the lineup is uncertain. ... Angels RF Collin Cowgill earned his first start of the season. Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't planning a platoon in right with Cowgill and Kole Calhoun, but he did want to give Calhoun a day off.