ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The suicide squeeze that worked so well the night before for the Houston Astros with Marwin Gonzalez at the plate gave rookie manager Bo Porter the idea of trying it again with Ronny Cedeno.
The Los Angeles Angels were ready this time.
Mike Trout hit his first home run of the season and Josh Hamilton also connected, leading C.J. Wilson and the Angels over Philip Humber and Houston 4-1 Sunday.
The Astros trailed 2-1 with one out in the sixth when they put Carlos Pena on third and Carlos Corporan at first. Cedeno bunted, and Wilson flipped the ball to catcher Hank Conger for the tag.
``When you have the kind of baserunners that you're not going to send them on contact ... you're trying to give yourself the best opportunity to get that guy home. But it just didn't work out,' Porter said.
``In that situation, with the way Humber was throwing the ball for us, we thought if we could just get even and turn it into a bullpen game, I liked our chances. But they got the big hit in the eighth and those two runs in the eighth gave them a cushion.'
Wilson said the element of surprise on the squeeze play was ``zero,' as far as the Angels were concerned.
``They had a bat-handler up there in Cedeno,' Wilson said. ``So I came up set, just knowing that this was possibly where they were going to try it - because anything that they can do to get the momentum back is huge for them.'
Humber (0-3) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings and struck out four.
``He was outstanding. He was very efficient with his pitches and did a great job attacking the strike zone,' Porter said. ``He kept a pretty good hitting ballclub at bay and kept us in the ballgame.'
The Astros didn't score a run in either of Humber's first two outings for them, which he lost 4-0 loss to Texas and 3-0 at Seattle.
``The guys are battling and today we got some runners on, but C.J. was tough,' Humber said. ``He made pitches when he had to make them, and their bullpen pretty much shut us down.'
``As a pitcher, you can't really control wins and losses. You just go out there and try to give the team a chance to win when it's our turn. There are times when I go out there and don't deserve to win and my teammates have picked me up. That's happened a lot in the past, so you just keep going,' he said.
Wilson (1-0) allowed one run and five hits in six innings. He struck out three, walked four and threw 115 pitches.
``We talked about how he had some command issues in his last start, so working counts was definitely part of our approach as a team,' Astros center fielder Justin Maxwell said. ``We did a really good job of making him work. I think almost every one of our batters had a full count at one time or another. So it worked pretty well, and we got some runners on.'
Ernesto Frieri, the fourth Angels pitcher, got four outs for his second save.
Trout, whose 30 homers, 83 RBIs and .326 average last season helped him win AL Rookie of the Year honors, gave the Angels a 2-1 lead. It was his first RBI in four games since manager Mike Scioscia switched him from first to second in the batting order.
Hamilton, who homered in Saturday night's 5-4 win, hit an opposite-field drive that just cleared the fence in left-center as Maxwell made a leaping attempt.
``I thought he was camped under it,' Hamilton said. ``He was playing there, anyway. I think he would have caught it if he hadn't jumped into the wall. I think he got a little too close to the wall. I've done that myself.'
NOTES: The last three teams Humber has pitched for - Oakland, Chicago and Houston - claimed him off waivers. Of the 23 pitchers who have thrown perfect games in the majors, only Humber, Randy Johnson and David Wells started the following season with a different team. ... Dominguez has played errorless ball at 3B through his first 11 games (43 chances). ... The Astros struck out eight times. They've fanned 121 times in 12 games this season.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved