Shohei Ohtani delivered a tiebreaking RBI double with two outs in the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels salvaged the finale of the four-game series with a 2-1 road victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday.
Ohtani drove a 3-2 curveball from Astros reliever Phil Maton (0-1) off the wall in right field, scoring Zach Neto from first base and snapping a 1-1 deadlock.
The Angels snapped their three-game losing skid behind the exceptional pitching of starter Griffin Canning and relievers Chris Devenski (3-0) and Carlos Estevez, who earned his 14th save in as many opportunities by recording the final four outs.
Canning allowed one run on four hits and one walk with four strikeouts over six innings. He surrendered a leadoff home run to Yainer Diaz in the fifth but was otherwise brilliant. Devenski entered in the seventh having retired 17 consecutive batters but immediately allowed a leadoff double to Diaz.
However, Devenski rallied and stranded Diaz at third, thanks in part to a nifty defensive play by third baseman Gio Urshela on a sharp grounder hit by Martin Maldonado.
Estevez retired Alex Bregman to end the eighth and worked around a one-out walk to Chas McCormick in the ninth by getting Diaz to ground into a game-ending double play.
With their bullpen stretched a bit thin for usage, the Astros got exactly what they needed from rookie starter J.P. France. He faced the minimum through three innings and did not surrender a baserunner until Mike Trout walked with one out in the top of the fourth. France got back on track when he induced an inning-ending double play from Brandon Drury.
France held the Angels hitless through five innings and had just 59 pitches on his ledger while facing the minimum of 15 batters entering the sixth. By then France had the lead but it was short-lived. With one out, Luis Rengifo drove a first-pitch changeup into the home bullpen in right-center for a game-tying solo home run, his third.
France worked a career-best seven innings, allowing one run on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts. He threw 90 pitches, 52 for strikes.
--Field Level Media