HOUSTON (AP) — Mike Trout and Albert Pujols hit back-to-back homers in the first inning and the Los Angeles Angels held on for an important 4-3 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The victory moves the Angels 2 1-2 games behind Houston for the second American League wild-card spot.
There was one on in the first when Trout launched his 40th homer into left-center to make it 2-0. The 36th home run this season by Pujols extended the lead to 3-0.
Houston cut the lead to 1 when Marwin Gonzalez and Chris Carter hit consecutive solo shots in the second inning.
The Angels added an insurance run on an RBI single by Kole Calhoun in the eighth to help them snap a six-game losing streak in Houston.
Hector Santiago (9-9) allowed four hits and two runs in five-plus innings. He was ejected for the first time in his career for arguing with the umpire on his way off the field after he was lifted.
Huston Street got the last four outs for his 39th save. He allowed a double to Carlos Correa with two outs in the ninth and intentionally walked Jed Lowrie, but struck out Evan Gattis to end it.
Rookie Lance McCullers (5-7) allowed four hits, including a career-high two homers, and three runs with nine strikeouts in seven innings in his 20th career start.
The Astros got within a run in the eighth when Lowrie scored on a wild pitch by Street.
Trout became the second player in franchise history to hit 40 homers in a season, joining Troy Glaus, who did it in 2000 (47) and 2001 (41).
Santiago was lifted after walking Gonzalez to start the sixth inning and was upset about the call on his last pitch. He slammed the rosin bag into his hand before manager Mike Scioscia removed him from the game. As he was almost off the field, he turned around and went to the plate and got in the face of umpire Chris Conroy and was ejected from the game.
Erick Aybar hit a leadoff single before Trout launched a one-out shot on the first pitch to left-center field to make it 2-0. Three pitches later Pujols connected for the 50th time in his career against the Astros, which is the most by any player, to extend the lead to 3-0. McCullers struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
There were two outs in the second inning when Gonzalez homered into the seats in left field to cut the lead to 3-1. Carter hit his 20th homer of the second on the next at-bat to get Houston within 3-2.
Houston's 209 home runs this season are the second-most in franchise history.
Angels: 2B Johnny Giavotella, on the DL with a nerve condition that caused problems with his vision, took live batting practice Tuesday in Arizona. Scioscia said he no longer has double vision and that he'll take batting practice again Wednesday. He isn't sure when he'll return to the team.
Astros: OF Carlos Gomez (intercostal strain) missed his 10th straight game. The Astros hoped to get him back by this weekend, but aren't sure if he'll be ready. Manager A.J. Hinch said Tuesday he isn't able to swing a bat at full speed and take batting practice yet.
Astros RHP Mike Fiers (7-10, 3.64) opposes Los Angeles RHP Nick Tropeano (2-2, 5.06) when the series wraps up Wednesday. Fiers has been great at home since a trade from Milwaukee, going 1-0 with a 0.89 ERA in three starts, including throwing a no-hitter against the Dodgers on Aug. 21.