The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim attempt to snap their five-game home losing streak as they host the Houston Astros Saturday in the middle part of a three-game set.
Chris Carter hit a three-run home run and drove in five as the Astros took an 8-2 win over the Angels to open the series on Friday. Matt Dominguez went 3- for-5 with a solo home run while L.J. Hoes also had three hits and scored a run for the Astros, who have won three of their last four.
Houston is 18-36 versus AL West rivals, but is 8-6 in 14 games against the Angels.
"I don't know why we've been playing good against them," Carter said. "We're playing loose lately and just having a lot more fun."
Carter has set career-highs in his first year with Houston after spending the first three seasons of his career with Oakland. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound outfielder has 23 home runs and 61 RBI, but his .213 batting average points out that he is limited as a contact hitter.
"Chris Carter works extremely hard," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "You may not always get the results you want, but the work ethic, you see it there. Again, it's nights like tonight that remind me why we keep putting him in here because it's power that can change any game."
Houston will have one of its most reliable pitchers on the mound on Saturday. After a brief stint as a reliever out of necessity, Dallas Keuchel returned to the rotation on Sunday. He gave up six runs on eight hits over 8 1/2 innings versus Texas, but is still 5-5 with a 4.56 ERA as a starter. He is tied for second on the team in wins.
The Angels will counter with Garrett Richards, who has been stellar in place of Joe Blanton. The 25-year old righty took a losing decision after holding the Yankees to two runs on seven hits over eight innings on Monday.
"He was our best pitcher in spring training," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He threw the ball better than anybody we had, and I think in the bullpen, it helped him to get his power stuff in order. And now back in the rotation, he's getting length and depth. You're seeing his ability to command counts improve, and he's having a lot of success."
Richards has a 2.42 ERA in his last four starts, but he will have to deal with Carter, who is 4-for-6 with a home run and two RBI against him.
Mike Trout went 1-for-3 for the hosts on Friday to extend his hitting streak to six games. He is third in the majors with a .330 batting average, but his supporting cast hasn't been too productive. Josh Hamilton went 0-for-4 in the series opener while J.B. Shuck, Kole Calhoun and Peter Bourjos were all held hitless, too.
Houston swept the Angels in a four-game series from May 31-June 3.