By Pete Zarustica
Even without future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols in the lineup, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim continue to close their 2016 with a blaze of belated glory. They smacked the Houston Astros 7-1 Friday night at the Big A to win their seventh game in eight contests, improving their record to 73-87 with two games left to play.
Kaleb Cowart stroked a three-run double in the second inning as the Halos build an early 4-1 lead and kept building on it. The beneficiary was Daniel Wright (1-5), who was able to get his first major league victory with a nifty six-inning stint. He gave up six hits and one run, striking out five and walking none.
The Angels were able to parlay six hits into seven runs with the help of an Astro error and four walks. The Halos also were 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Pujols is done for the 2016 campaign, as he has been playing hurt with an injury to his right foot.
“I think it’s in his best interests not to push this thing anymore, and I think it’s the right decision,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before Friday night’s series opener against the Astros.
Pujols put up some impressive numbers for the season. How 119 RBIs are fourth-best in the major leagues and he smashed 31 home runs while batting .268, playing much of the season as designated hitter.
The series with the Astros (83-77) continues Saturday with Tyler Skaggs (3-3) making the start for the Angels.