ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — One by one, Houston Astros manager Bo Porter summoned relievers to the mound to try to hold the lead for Scott Feldman.
Through 55 minutes, 14 batters and 74 pitches, the Los Angeles Angels surged to their most productive inning of the season.
Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead, two-run homer, and C.J. Cron and pinch-hitter David Freese also went deep during an eight-run rally that carried the Angels to an 11-5 victory over the Astros on Saturday night that spoiled Porter's 42nd birthday.
"It was a tough inning," losing pitcher Anthony Bass said. "I looked back at video, and balls were just coming back over the middle of the plate for them. They were just hitting everything. If I had made some pitches on the corners, I think it's definitely a different ballgame."
Bass (1-1) inherited a 5-2 lead from Feldman, and Cron greeted him with a leadoff single. Freese batted for John McDonald and hit his first homer in 124 career at-bats at Angel Stadium and first in the majors as a pinch-hitter.
"It doesn't matter who we're facing," Pujols said. "We hit some balls hard against Feldman, but he made some good pitches when he needed them to get out of some innings. But our goal is not to concentrate on who's on the mound. It's to go out there and have quality at-bats against anybody."
Kole Calhoun followed with a single for his third hit of the game. Bass retired Mike Trout before Pujols drove the next pitch to left-center for his 19th homer.
It was the 511th shot of his career, tying Mel Ott for 23rd place on baseball's list and putting him one away from matching Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews. Pujols added his 542nd double in the ninth to overtake Rogers Hornsby for 30th place.
"It was a big inning at the right time," manager Mike Scioscia said after the Angels' ninth straight home win. "David Freese got us close and Albert got a huge hit with two outs to give us a lead. Once that inning got rolling, our guys didn't want it to end.
"They just kept passing that baton and doing whatever they had to do."
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