HOUSTON — Joe Blanton delivered his third straight quality start, and the Angels scored four runs in the fourth inning Saturday on the way to extending their win streak to five with a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros.
Blanton, who was in danger of losing his rotation spot three weeks ago, gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings at Minute Maid Park, striking out six and walking two, to improve to 2-10 and earn his first win since May 23.
The right-hander has given up five earned runs in 21 innings of his last three games and finished June with 40 strikeouts, the most he’s had in any month of his nine-year career.
Howie Kendrick (solo shot in the fifth) and Chris Iannetta (two-run shot in the eighth) added home runs, and right fielder Josh Hamilton made two superb leaping catches at the wall, robbing J.D. Martinez of a three-run homer in the fourth and Matt Dominguez of a solo shot in the seventh.
The only damper on the afternoon for the Angels was another injury to center fielder Peter Bourjos, who left the game in the fourth after getting hit on the right wrist by a pitch.
Bourjos, who is batting .326 in 40 games, returned to the starting lineup Saturday for the first time since suffering a bruised left thumb sliding into second base against Pittsburgh last Sunday. He also missed 40 games in May and June because of a left hamstring strain.
Mark Trumbo sparked the Angels’ fourth-inning rally off Houston starter Jordan Lyles with a leadoff single to center. Kendrick squared to bunt but was hit in the helmet by a pitch to put two on.
Hamilton walked to load the bases, and Alberto Callaspo stroked a two-run single to center. Iannetta flied to center, but Bourjos was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
Erick Aybar followed with a two-run single to right for a 4-0 lead, giving the Angels shortstop, who is batting .359 (23 for 64) with 17 runs batted in over his last 15 games, his American League-leading 14th multi-hit game this month.
The Angels extended the lead to 5-0 on Kendrick’s homer to right in the fifth, the second baseman’s ninth homer of the season and first since June 5.
The Astros cut the lead to 5-2 in the seventh when Chris Carter walked and Brett Wallace hit a two-run, opposite-field homer to left, but the Angels got those runs right back in the eighth when Iannetta crushed a two-run homer to left, the first homer since May 24 for the struggling catcher.
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