Southern California natives Gerrit Cole and Jake Marisnick had big games for the Houston Astros while playing in front of friends and family Wednesday night.
Cole struck out 11 over seven innings, Marisnick had three hits amid a chorus of boos and the Astros got back on track with an 11-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
"We played great. Gerrit did a good job of setting the intensity and was really dominant," manager AJ Hinch said. "I think coming back from the way this week and the past couple games have gone it was huge for us to look like ourselves again and control the game."
Marisnick is from nearby Riverside but has drawn the ire of Angels' fans this series after he ran over catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a home-plate collision July 7 in Houston. Marisnick was drilled between the shoulder blades by Angels reliever Noé Ramirez during the sixth inning of Tuesday's game, when the teams nearly came to blows.
Ramirez was suspended for three games but is appealing, and manager Brad Ausmus was given a one-game suspension that he served Wednesday. Bench coach Josh Paul filled in.
"He's been getting worn out by Angels fans behind the dugout this entire series, he's got worn out by some of their players and their manager in the press. Some of the criticism has been unfair and he has handled it first class," Cole said.
Marisnick has tried to stay above the fray though and is 5 for 7 in the past two games.
"I've had a chance the past couple nights to put some good at-bats together," he said. "My timing has been better and I've fine-tuned some things."
After having a team meeting following Tuesday's loss, the Astros played one of their better all-around games of the season.
Cole (10-5) — who grew up in Newport Beach — pitched one-run ball and extended his major league strikeout lead with his 11th double-digit strikeout game in 21 starts. Michael Brantley and George Springer went deep for the Astros, who had 12 hits the first five innings as every player in the lineup had at least one.
The outfield also came up with big plays defensively to rob Los Angeles of hits. Left fielder Josh Reddick threw a perfect strike to catcher Robinson Chirinos to get Andrelton Simmons at home to end the fifth inning.
"I think we're now in the second half and teams in our division are trying to hunt us," said Cole, who is 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA in his last 10 starts. "It's important that we work on the balance that we have between having fun and playing with an edge. This is how we want to play in the postseason."
Félix Peña struggled in his first outing since combining with Taylor Cole for a no-hitter last Friday. The right-hander surrendered a career-high eight runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time he had started a game and had not come in after an opener in 15 appearances.
"They jumped him early, and just carried the momentum throughout the game, said Paul of Peña. "They were patient and they got the pitches that they needed to hit hard and they hit them hard."
After Alex Bregman's double drove in Jose Altuve, Brantley took Peña's fastball over the wall in right for his 100th home run.
Houston led 6-0 after four innings before breaking it open in the fifth with five runs, including Springer's three-run homer to center off Luke Bard.
Dustin Garneau hit a solo shot off Cole in the fifth inning and added an RBI double in the ninth for the Angles, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES
Altuve had two hits, including a two-run double in the second. He is 11 for 24 with three doubles and seven RBIs in his last five games. ... Cole and Justin Verlander are the first pair of teammates in the AL to reach double-digit wins this season. ... Angels LF Justin Upton, who had two hits, has hits in 14 of 20 games since returning from the injured list.
TROUT STILL OUT
Angels star center fielder Mike Trout missed his third straight game due to a mildly strained right calf but could return for Thursday's series finale. Trout said he is feeling better but that it was better to rest for one more day.
Astros: OF Yordan Alvarez, who has been bothered by left knee pain for the past three weeks, was held out of the lineup. The rookie had a nine-game hitting streak snapped Tuesday night.
Angels: IF Zack Cozart had season-ending surgery on his left shoulder Wednesday in Los Angeles.
Astros: LHP Wade Miley (7-4, 3.32 ERA) is 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in two previous starts at Angel Stadium.
Angels: RHP Matt Harvey (3-4, 6.88 ERA) allowed only one run in 5 2/3 innings on July 13 against Seattle. That was his first start since May 23, when he went on the injured list due to an upper back strain.