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Bregman’s bat helps Astros’ Verlander defeat Angels

Alex Bregman hit a three-run double, and Jose Altuve and Jake Marisnick homered to back seven innings of strong pitching by ace Justin Verlander as the Houston Astros beat the visiting Los Angeles Angels 5-2 on Wednesday afternoon to salvage the final game of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park.

Verlander (4-0) didn’t allow a hit until the fifth and surrendered just two runs while scattering four hits in seven full innings of work. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.

Since joining the Astros rotation on Sept. 5, 2017, Verlander is 9-0 in his 11 starts and has allowing just 38 hits while striking out 91 batters. He joins Roger Clemens (9-0 in 2004) as the only Houston pitchers to win their first nine decisions with the team.

Chris Devenski and Ken Giles faced the minimum in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively, with Giles earning his second save of the season.

Houston moved into first place by a half-game over Los Angeles.

Nick Tropeano (1-2) took the loss for the Angels, allowing four runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out six and walked three.

The Astros scored three runs in the fourth off Tropeano on just one hit, Bregman’s two-out, bases-loaded three-run double. Tropeano walked Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick, and hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch to set the table for Bregman’s big hit.

Houston expanded its lead and chased Tropeano in the sixth as Altuve ripped a leadoff home run.

The Angels finally solved Verlander for two runs with two outs in the seventh. Albert Pujols’ ripped a home run over the wall in left-center field and Zack Cozart doubled off Reddick’s glove in left center to allow Andrelton Simmons to race home and cut Houston’s lead to 4-2.

The Astros wasted no time getting back one of those runs as Marisnick homered off reliever Eduardo Parades with one out in the bottom of the frame.

–Field Level Media

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