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Angels beat Astros to complete a redemptive weekend

Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout hit home runs to again spark a revived offense as Angels win their second in a row, 4-1, to rebound from 2-8 start.

April 14, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels teammates congratulate Mike Trout after he scored a run against the Astros on Sunday afternoon in Anaheim.
Angels teammates congratulate Mike Trout after he scored a run against… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

The Angels are 14 days into a schedule that will stretch to the final weekend of September, so it's far too early to take anything other than a wild guess as to how the season will turn out.

But if they make the playoff push they're expected to make, they may point to this weekend's games with the lowly Houston Astros as the ones that got things started.

After getting off to the worst start in franchise history at 2-8, the Angels rallied to win Saturday's game with two outs in the ninth inning, then rallied again Sunday for a 4-1 victory, giving the team its first two-game winning streak and first series victory of the season.

BOX SCORE: Angels 4, Houston 1

"Any time you can build momentum it's good," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We got a lead and we held it. That gives you an air of confidence. And we haven't had too many of those in the first couple of weeks.

"We're not where we want to be after 12 games but the most important thing is the process . . . of becoming that team you can become, of playing the type baseball you can play."

How the Angels got those victories may be of more significance than the wins themselves, with slumping outfielders Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton combining for eight hits, five runs batted in and six runs in the two games. Two of Hamilton's four hits were home runs — his first two as an Angel — and Trout lined a solo shot into the right-center-field seats in the third inning Sunday for his first homer of the year.

Hamilton, who had two extra-base hits entering the weekend, bettered that with two home runs and a triple in the span of six at-bats, raising his average 55 points to .234. Trout , who scored the winning run in both games, raised his average 42 points to .269.

"I was jumpy the first couple of weeks," said Trout, who scored as many runs this weekend, four, as he had in the first 10 games combined. "I just went out there, calmed myself down and played my game."

Hamilton said he's used the same approach all season only now the hits — 10 in his last 27 at-bats — are starting to fall. Sunday he drove in Trout with a two-out infield single in the first, then closed out the win with a home run to left-center with Trout aboard in the eighth.

That gave C.J. Wilson his first win of the year after an up-and-down performance in which he gave up one run but needed 115 pitches to get through six innings. Three relievers followed, giving the bullpen 9 2/3 scoreless inning in the last three games.

In the previous six games, Angels relievers had allowed 16 earned runs in 23 2/3 innings.

Yet none of that means anything, Trout said, if the Angels don't build on those wins when they start a three-game series Monday in Minnesota.

"It's a good start," he said. "It's a little bit funner now that we're winning. We've just got to carry it over."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

twitter.com@kbaxter11

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