Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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Back From DL, Freese Powers Angels Past Astros

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[May 21, 2014]  ANAHEIM, Calif. -- David Freese made his biggest impact for the Los Angeles Angels hours after being activated from the disabled list.

The third baseman drove in a season-high four runs Tuesday in the Angels' 9-3 win over the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium.

Freese went 2-for-5 with a double and scored a run in his first major league action since May 2, when a pitched ball broke his right middle finger.

"We're really happy to have him back," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's got a great approach with runners in scoring position. He's always done well in whatever situation, and he's got the ability to drive the ball the other way. He just knows his way around a batter's box."

Designated hitter Mike Trout drove in three runs and contributed two of the Angels' 12 hits. Second baseman Howie Kendrick added two hits.

Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (4-1) induced nine groundouts and collected six strikeouts in seven innings. He allowed one run and five hits, walked one batter and hit another.

"I threw a ton of fastballs against them in my first start," Skaggs said. "I could tell by the first inning that they were coming out swinging, so I had to mix it up. The curveball finally felt like I could throw it for a strike and I could bounce it if I wanted to."

Skaggs, a native of the Los Angeles area, earned his first career victory at Angel Stadium.

"I grew up being an Angels fan," Skaggs said. "I always get a little more excitement going on the mound, here. What can I say?"

Second baseman Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with a double and a run for the Astros.

The Angels built a 4-0 lead against right-hander Scott Feldman (2-2) after two innings. In the bottom of the first, Los Angeles turned two hits, two walks and an error into three unearned runs with two outs.

First baseman Albert Pujols hit a ground ball that Houston first baseman Chris Carter bobbled for the error. Left fielder Raul Ibanez and Kendrick then walked to load the bases.

Freese hit a single to bring home Pujols and Ibanez. Catcher Hank Conger followed with another single that scored Kendrick.

Carter's error was the first of two for the Astros.

"Obviously, the two errors led to runs," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "We have been able to stay away from what I call high-level impact errors."

In the second, Trout hit a sacrifice fly to knock in right fielder Efren Navarro, who doubled and moved to third base on shortstop Erick Aybar's single.

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Houston narrowed the deficit to 4-1 when third baseman Matt Dominguez hit a sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth. However, Trout's run-scoring single in the bottom of the inning restored the Angels' four-run lead.

Los Angeles then sent nine batters to the plate in the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits, two walks and an error. Freese's ground ball that shortstop Jonathan Villar bobbled brought home Ibanez. Aybar walked with the bases loaded to force in Freese, and Trout's infield single scored Conger.

Houston added two runs in the eighth. Right fielder George Springer hit an RBI single and designated hitter Jason Castro added a sacrifice fly.

Feldman, in his shortest outing of the season, allowed nine hits and eight runs (three earned) while walking two and striking out four.

"His breaking stuff normally is a lot sharper," Porter said. "He just didn't have the sharp breaking ball he normally has, and the ball was elevated."

NOTES: Houston 2B Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak to 12 games, a career best. ... Astros CF Dexter Fowler failed to draw a walk for the first time in 10 games. ... Houston SS Jonathan Villar returned to the lineup after missing Monday night's game with a bruised right hand, and he went 0-for-4. Villar injured the hand while swinging a bat Sunday. ... Astros OF L.J. Hoes was scheduled to start but became ill and remained at the team's hotel. ... Los Angeles sent 3B Luis Jimenez to Triple-A Salt Lake upon activating 3B David Freese from the disabled list. ... Angels DH Mike Trout reached base in his 15th consecutive game. ... Los Angeles OF Collin Cowgill returned to the lineup after missing Monday night's game with a tight hip flexor. He finished 1-for-4. ... Los Angeles extended its working agreement with Salt Lake through 2016. ... The attendance was 30,150.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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