Astros miss out on chance to gain ground, lose to Angels 2-0
HOUSTON (AP) - Albert Pujols hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Ricky Nolasco pitched seven solid innings, helping the Los Angeles Angels hinder the Houston Astros wild-card hopes with a 2-0 victory Thursday night.
The Angels ended an 11-game skid and kept Houston one game behind the Orioles and Tigers for the second AL wild card, with Detroit still playing later Thursday against the Twins.
Pujols homered into the Crawford Boxes in left field, helping Los Angeles move to 2-11 against the Astros this season.
Nolasco (7-14) gave up five hits - all singles - and struck out five.
JC Ramirez pitched the eighth before Andrew Bailey pitched the ninth for his fifth save.
Mike Fiers (11-8) allowed two runs on four hits with a season-high nine strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.