HOUSTON (AP) – Kent Emanuel worked 8 2/3 innings in relief in his major league debut, saving Houston’s bullpen after Jake Odorizzi left early with an injury, and the Astros pounded the Los Angeles Angels 16-2 on Saturday.
Emanuel (1-0) allowed five hits and two runs. The 28-year-old, who spent seven years in the minors before getting an opportunity with Houston this season, became the fourth pitcher in the modern era to have a relief outing of 8 2/3 innings or more in his debut, according to STATS, joining Fred Smith (1907), Maury Kent (1912) and John Montefusco (1974).
Alex Bregman hit a three-run homer, Yordan Alvarez had a season-high four RBIs, Carlos Correa had three hits including a homer and Michael Brantley doubled three times for Houston. The Astros had season highs in runs and hits (18) to win their third straight following a three-game skid.
Odorizzi exited with tightness in his right forearm after retiring leadoff batter David Fletcher on five pitches. Emanuel completed the scoreless frame and then Correa, batting leadoff for the third straight game, homered to kick off a three-run first for Houston.
The Angels got solo homers from Albert Pujols in the second and Shohei Ohtani in the third. Bregman padded the lead when he sent a slider from Griffin Canning (1-2) to make it 6-2 in the third.
A two-run single by Gurriel capped a four-run fourth that made it 10-2. Alvarez cleared the bases with a triple in the fifth, and manager Dusty Baker took out Brantley and Bregman for the sixth with the game well in hand.
It was the fourth straight loss for the Angels, who have dropped 17 of their last 20 in Houston dating to Sept. 1, 2018. They played without superstar Mike Trout, who missed a second straight game with a bruised left elbow after being hit by a pitch on Thursday night.
Odorizzi, who signed with the Astros on March 8, grimaced on his final pitch. Catcher Jason Castro went to check on him and quickly motioned to the dugout. Baker and trainers talked to Odorizzi for a couple of minutes before he was taken out of the game.
Canning yielded six hits and a season-high six runs while walking two in 2 1/3 innings, his shortest start this year.
Ohtani wasn’t sure the ball was out on his homer, so he sprinted until he rounded third base before slowing down a bit for his waltz home.
He was greeted in the dugout with a high-five from Trout. The home run was Ohtani’s sixth of the season, tying him with the three-time AL MVP and several other players for second most in the AL.
Ohtani, a designated hitter and part-time pitcher, made his first career appearance in the outfield. He took over in left when the Angels had left fielder Anthony Bemboom pitch in the eighth inning.
Angels: Manager Joe Maddon doesn’t believe Trout’s injury will land him on the injured list, but he isn’t sure when he’ll return. “It’s all been kind of a day to day thing until that swelling really dissipates and he feels comfortable swinging the bat again,” Maddon said.
Astros: 2B Jose Altuve revealed Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19. He has been out since April 14 and it could be a few more days before he’s ready to return to the lineup. Altuve said he did not have symptoms.
Houston’s Lance McCullers Jr. (1-1, 5.27 ERA) opposes Dylan Bundy (0-2, 4.50) as the Astros try to complete the sweep Sunday.
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