Published February 05, 2015
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - David Freese highlighted a game-changing fourth inning with a two-run double that sent the LA Angels of Anaheim over the Houston Astros, 5-2, in the opener of a four-game series.
The Angels overcame a 2-1 deficit with four runs in the fourth, and the combination of Matt Shoemaker and three relievers did the rest in the Angels' 13th win their last 14 home games.
Despite dealing with baserunners most of his outing, Shoemaker (6-2) limited the Astros to two runs on seven hits and three walks over six frames.
Jose Altuve provided one of the few positive takeaways in Houston's fourth straight loss with three of the club's eight hits.
Brett Oberholtzer (2-7) had a setback after giving up just four runs over his previous three outings, as the Angels tagged him for five runs on nine hits and three walks over 6 1/3 innings. He was sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City following the loss.
Houston countered Howie Kendrick's two-out, RBI single in the first inning with a pair of runs in the third. Marwin Gonzalez led off the inning with a walk, moved to third on an Altuve double and scored on Jason Castro's infield single.
George Springer added another run with a groundout, but the Astros hit into an inning-ending double play and hardly threatened again.
"It seemed like we weren't able to get the big hit," Astros manager Bo Porter said of their early chances. "We had our opportunities."
The Angels retook the lead with a four-spot in the fourth behind four consecutive hits and a sacrifice fly. Kendrick, Erick Aybar and C.J. Cron all singled, the latter bringing in the tying tun, and Freese one-hopped the wall in right-center for a two-run double.
"Hopefully he's finding a comfort level," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Freese. "We need him."
Freese advanced to third on the throw home and scored on Chris Iannetta's deep flyout to right.
Kevin Jepsen, Jason Grilli and Joe Smith each tossed a scoreless inning of relief behind Shoemaker, with Smith picking up his 10th save of the year.
Altuve leads the AL in hits (121), stolen bases (37) and batting average (.348) ... Shoemaker struck out seven ... Houston went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.