Cristian Javier followed up his performance in a combined no-hitter last weekend with a new lights-out start.
Javier hit a career-best 14 while giving up only one basehit in seven innings to lead the Houston Astros over the Angels 8-1 on Friday night for their fourth consecutive win.
“Trust breeds trust”, Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “And trust breeds success. That’s what he shows.”
The 25-year-old was brilliant in his first start since striking out 13 in seven innings off a combined no-hitter Saturday against the New York Yankees. Shohei Ohtani was the lone Angels-runner to give up Javier and hit a homer with two outs in the first.
Javier was asked about shaking off the home run.
“I’m just trying to stay positive,” he said through an interpreter. “And I said to myself, ‘I have to keep them here to give the team my chance to come back.’ †
Javier (6-3) sailed through the rest of his appearance, eliminating the next 19 batters before leaving with a standing ovation after seven innings. He got an assist from his defense when Chas McCormick made a jumping flyout just in front of the wall in left field for the first of the sixth to rob. Andrew Velazquez of a hit.
Javier became the first pitcher in the modern era to strike out 27 batters and give up only one basehit in a span of two games. He is the fourth pitcher in franchise history to strike out 13 or more in consecutive games and the first to do so since Gerrit Cole in 2019.
“I think in the past I was a bit more careful in the attack zone, not to give up hits,” said Javier. “But at the moment I just tried to attack the attack zone as much as possible.”
A pair of relievers completed the combined two-hitter, and Houston pitchers struckout a total of 16 batters.
Yuli Gurriel, Jake Meyers and McCormick all homered for the Astros when they jumped on Angels starter Michael Lorenzen (6-6) for eight runs in just three innings.
“I’m not going through it because I’m not trying,” Lorenzen said. “But trying is not good enough in this competition. You have to get results. I have to get the job done. I want to pull my hair out now. I’m going crazy. I have to keep working.”
Ohtani gave the Angels an early lead with his homerun before the Astros got going.
They tied the score when Gurriel homered to left-center to start the Houston in second. There was one out in the inning when Meyers hit his first homerun this season on the rightfield seats to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.
Houston scored six times in the third. Jeremy Pena led off the third with a sac-fly on third baseman Tyler Wade’s error, Kyle Tucker followed with a single and Alex Bregman hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.
Gurriel walked, JJ Matijevic doubled, Meyers followed with an RBI single and McCormick homered to make it 8-1.
Pena returned after missing Thursday’s game after a nasty in-field collision with Yordan Alvarez on Wednesday, but Alvarez was out.
Lorenzen gave up eight hits in his third consecutive loss.
Astros: Baker said Alvarez was feeling better on Friday and would return on Saturday. Catcher Jason Castro was placed on Friday’s 10-day injured list with left knee discomfort and Houston’s No. 2 prospect, catcher Korey Lee, was called up from triple-A Sugar Land to take his spot on the roster. Lee made his Major League-debut as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, then popped out.
Angels who catch coach Bill Haselman will serve as the team’s acting interim manager Sunday and Tuesday, while acting interim manager Ray Montgomery and interim manager Phil Nevin serve their suspensions for last week’s brawl with the Seattle Mariners. right-handed Ryan Tepera appealed his ban on the altercation and had it reduced from three to two games and began serving him out Friday night.
Houston’s Jose Urquidy (6-3, 4.36 ERA) opposes southpaw Patrick Sandoval (3-2, 2.63) when the series continues on Saturday.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times†