HOUSTON — No one is expecting Eric Young Jr. to do what Mike Trout did for the Los Angeles Angels while the two-time MVP recovers from thumb surgery.
But so far his contributions have been important in helping the Angels while Trout recovers.
Albert Pujols homered early and Young had a career-high four RBIs, including a three-run shot in a six-run fifth inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 12-6 win over the Houston Astros on Sunday.
“E.Y. is making the most of an opportunity,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s gotten some big hits, playing good defense whether he’s in center or left, running the bases aggressively. He definitely fits with these guys and he’s playing great baseball.”
Pujols hit his 601st career home run and his 56th against the Astros in the first inning, and the Angels had a 3-0 lead in the third before Houston got going.
The Astros scored six runs in the third and fourth innings combined, powered by homers from George Springer and Yuli Gurriel, to take a 6-3 lead.
The Angels scored three runs to tie it up in the fifth before Young connected off Michael Feliz (2-1) for his second home run this season to put the Angels up 9-6.
Young is hitting .318 with three doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four steals since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Salt Lake City on May 29 when Trout went on the disabled list.
“It’s hard to replace a guy like that,” Young said. “He’s an MVP, multiple MVPs for a reason. I think I just focus on being myself and what I bring to the table and have fun while I’m out there.”
Angels starter Jesse Chavez allowed four hits and six runs in 3 2-3 innings and rookie Keynan Middleton (1-0) pitched a scoreless fifth for his first career win.
Rookie David Paulino, who moved into the rotation this month with three starters on the disabled list, allowed six hits and five runs in four innings.
Kole Calhoun had two hits and three RBIs and Andrelton Simmons added two hits and two RBIs as the Angels won for the third time in four games.
Astros: RHP Joe Musgrove (shoulder) is expected to come off the disabled list to start for Houston on Monday. Musgrove last pitched on May 26.
Houston OF Nori Aoki earned automatic entrance into Meikyukai or Golden Players Club, one of two Japanese baseball halls of fame, by collecting two hits on Sunday to give him 2,000 between the majors and Nippon Professional Baseball. After his double in the fourth inning, Aoki’s 2,000th hit came on a single to left field to start Houston’s sixth inning. Several Astros came out of the dugout to applaud Aoki, including Jose Altuve, who got the ball from the Angels and pretended to throw it into the stands before putting it away for safekeeping. Play was stopped for a minute as the video board showed a graphic congratulating Aoki on reaching the milestone. He tipped his cap and bowed to the crowd several times after receiving a loud ovation.
“Once I got my 2,000th hit, it brought back memories of my very first professional hit,” he said. “It kind of made me look back, and the passion I have for baseball still hasn’t changed.”
He matched his season high in hits with a single in the eighth inning to give him 1,284 hits in Japan and 717 in the majors.
Aoki was presented with a Golden Players Club jacket after the game and the Astros presented him with an oversized bottle of wine signed by the team.
RECORD HOME RUN STREAK
Sunday was the 19th straight game in which the Astros have homered, which is the longest streak in franchise history. Houston, which is third in the majors with 97 homers, has hit 38 during this streak.
Angels: Alex Meyer (2-3, 4.08 ERA) is scheduled to start for Los Angeles in the opener of a three game series against the Yankees on Monday. Meyer allowed three hits and one run, which was unearned, in six innings of a loss to Detroit in his previous start.
Astros: Barring any setbacks, Musgrove (4-4, 4.89) will start on Monday when Houston opens a three-game series against Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers. Musgrove had his best performance in his previous start when he allowed four hits in seven scoreless innings in a 2-0 win over Baltimore.
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