Astros-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

Mike Trout's recent tear is likely to land him in center field at the All-Star game.

For now, he's more concerned with getting the surging Los Angeles Angels closer to the top of the AL West.

A day after connecting for a walkoff homer, Trout looks to remain hot at the plate and continue his dominance of the last-place Houston Astros on Saturday night.

Trout leads Los Angeles (49-36) with 20 homers and 63 RBIs, becoming the eighth Angels player with that many homers to drive in at least 60 runs before the All-Star break and the first since Vladimir Guerrero in 2004.

That should be enough for him to earn a spot on the AL roster for the All-Star game in Minneapolis on July 15. However, he's ruling out any doubt by batting .369 with 10 homers, 28 RBIs and 24 runs in 30 games, managing at least one hit in 26 of them.

Trout totaled three while the Angels won the first two of this four-game series, but his latest was the most important. He led off the ninth inning with a solo shot to clinch a 7-6 win over the Astros.

"The adrenaline rush you get when it goes out, it's something special. It's always good to come up big," Trout said.

He's a big reason why Los Angeles is on an 11-3 run and is now 3 1/2 games back of division-leading Oakland.

Trout is likely to play a part in cutting into that gap since he's a career .385 hitter in 14 career home meetings with Houston (36-52).

Hector Santiago (0-7, 4.08 ERA) certainly wouldn't mind seeing that continue as he continues to search for his first win.

The left-hander has a 2.30 ERA in four games - three starts - since returning from Triple-A Salt Lake, but he's 0-1 while getting six total runs of support in those starts.

Santiago seemed headed for a victory last Saturday, but a second rain delay forced him to exit after four scoreless innings of a 6-2 win at Kansas City.

"Somebody sent me a message and asked me 'Did you make a witch angry?'" Santiago said. "It seems like everything that can have an effect on me getting a win has happened. But I gave four scoreless innings and gave us a chance to win, and the team got the win, so that's what I care about."

He's 0-1 with a 5.19 ERA in three appearances, including one start, against Houston.

The Astros, losers of five straight, will turn to Scott Feldman (4-5, 3.92), who is 1-1 with a 3.47 ERA over his last four starts. He was 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA in six games since returning from a stint on the disabled list for right biceps tendinitis.

He's trying to win back-to-back starts for the first time since opening the season 2-0 after allowing one run in seven innings in a 7-4 home win over the Angels on April 6.

The right-hander was solid against Detroit on Sunday, allowing two runs and scattering seven hits in six innings of a 6-4 win.

"We'll have to see (if the adjustments are working)," he told MLB's official website. "I like where I'm headed at this point."

Feldman is 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in his last four road starts versus the Angels, giving up eight runs - three earned - in four innings of a 9-3 defeat May 20.

He's limited Trout to one hit in five at-bats this year.

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