Houston, TX – Chris Carter blasted a three-run homer as part of a five-run third inning that lifted the Houston Astros to a 7-6 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the opener of a three-game set at Minute Maid Park.
Jose Altuve also homered for Houston, which had lost six straight and 10 of its previous 11 games. Robbie Grossman scored twice and stole his first two bases of the year, while Jimmy Paredes drove in a run with a double in the third during his first start of 2013.
Jose Veras tossed a perfect ninth to save it for Jordan Lyles (1-0). who earned the win after striking out six in five innings of work. He was charged with three runs before giving way to the bullpen.
"I think I threw the ball a little bit better tonight than I did last outing," Lyles said. "Just from the fact being down 3-0 and then putting up some zeros against a pretty good offense."
Mark Trumbo, Howie Kendrick and Alberto Callaspo each homered for Los Angeles, which has dropped 10 of 13.
C.J. Wilson (3-1) struck out a season-high 12 batters for the Angels, but absorbed the loss after allowing all seven runs -- only two of which were earned -- in 6 1/3 innings.
After Erick Aybar led off the game with a double to left and Albert Pujols drew a walk, Trumbo deposited the first pitch he saw into the left field bleachers, giving the Angels an early 3-0 advantage.
With two away in the bottom of the first, Altuve worked the count full before offering a solo shot to put Houston on the board.
The Astros really took control in the third. Brandon Barnes started things off with a single. Grossman attempted to sacrifice him to second with a bunt but Angels catcher Hank Conger, who had three errors, was unable to field it cleanly and both runners were safe. A Conger throwing error during Paredes' at-bat put Barnes on third, and he came around to score on the Paredes double.
Altuve then singled in a run and following consecutive strikeouts, Carter homered to cap the frame.
Kendrick's sixth inning home run brought LA one run closer, but Houston got it back in the seventh on another Conger throwing error. Grossman singled and stole second. Two batters later, Mark Lowe was on the hill when Grossman stole third and Conger's throw went past Callaspo at third, allowing him to trot home. Altuve, who was intentionally walked, got greedy and tried to score as well but was thrown out at home by left fielder J.B. Shuck.
Trailing 7-4 in the eighth, Callaspo homered to left to bring the Angels to within a run, but that is as close as they would get.
"Any body can say what they want to say about us, but when we start rattling off wins and get it going here, we're going to look back and we're going to know that we got it done," Conger said of the Angels' struggles.
Kendrick has reached safely in 16 of 18 games ... Trumbo has now homered in six of his last eight games ... LA went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.