LTBU: Pujols and Nolasco spoil Astros wild card chances with 2-0 victory

Updated: September 22, 2016

Man, oh, man, is Nolasco something. You better know his name by now: Carlos Enrique Nolasco called team shut out today, and receive another win as a result. He edged out Houston Astros’ pitcher Michael Bruce Fiers in a pitchers’ duel, despite Fiers fanning 9 Halos while Nolasco only fans 5 Astros.

In a losing effort, Fiers also went 6.1 innings, allowing 4 hits, surrendered 3 batters to reach base on balls, and gave up 2 earned runs — more on THAT in a few moments, or go to the offensive post. Nolasco, on the other hand, went another 7 strong and quality innings, not allowing a single run, while surrendering just one batter to reach first base on balls and giving up just five hits.

Relievers Delivered Their End of the Bargain: Just three hits that reliever Juan Carlos Romero — who earned his 13th hold — and Andrew Scott Bailey gave up, but Bailey had a bit of a scare from Carlos Javier Correa, Jr., when he hit the ball a mile high… only that it was a LOOOOOOONG out to left fielder Nicholas Gregory Buss; it was out #1. Then, James Evan Gattis, another threat, grounded into double play to end the game. Bailey earns his fifth save and his 94th carer save in his 112 chances.

First Inning Offense Decided The Game: Escobar struck out to start the game; 1 out. Next up, Trout. He worked his way after a 3-1 count from Fiers to reach base on balls. Now, here comes what determined the outcome of the game and for the Astros to lose ground in the Wild Card race: Pujols. José Alberto Pujols Alcántara delivered the knockout blow by swinging in first pitch to grab his 31st home run and two runs batten in.

That’s more than enough for Nolasco to deal with and that’s all the offense either side has seen in terms of producing runs, but a win is a win. The Angels improved to 67-86, while the Astros falls to 81-72, which is 1 1/2 games back in the second spot, which is now occupied by the Detroit Tigers.

Oh, and by the way, the Angels ended their 11-game losing streak against the Astros and only their second game that they have won this season; now, they’re going for a three-game winning streak on Friday at Minute Maid Park.

Vintage Pujols: Pujols’ 591st homerun against the Astros tonight is also the 53rd of his career, which is most against any team. He’s also 173 hits shy of reaching the Roberto Enrique Clemente Walker’s plateau of having 3,000 hits in his career. As for the career runs batted in, he just broke a tie for 20th place from Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, with 1812 career RBI’s, including 118 this season — most in six seasons when he had 110 RBI’s with the Saint Louis Cardinals.

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