ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A team looking to set the tone early could not have done much better than the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.
Powered by five extra-base hits, they scored five runs in the first inning, and left-hander Tyler Skaggs started putting up zeros on the mound.
And when it was over, the Angels had romped their way to a 9-1 victory over the Houston Astros to remain two games back of Minnesota for the second AL wild card with 14 to play.
"When we got pitches to hit tonight, we did not miss them," manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Angels made it a tough night for spot starter Mike Fiers (8-10). He allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"He just couldn't get into the game," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "Five extra-base hits in the first inning is a tough tone to set.
"We really didn't come back and it made for a long night."
Houston's magic number to clinch the AL West title remained at five.
Skaggs (2-5) missed 85 games this season with an oblique injury. In his first seven games back, he was 0-4 with a 5.61 ERA.
But on Wednesday he was in complete control. He held the Astros to three hits in his seven innings, walking one and striking out five. It was his first victory since April 22.
"I hope Tyler can bottle that," Scioscia said. "That's a tough lineup. You couldn't pitch much better than he did tonight against those guys."
The Angels finished with 13 hits, eight for extra bases. They had six doubles by six players, a two-run homer from Luis Valbuena to cap the five-run first and a solo homer from Justin Upton off Tyler Clippard in the sixth.
It marked the 250th career homer for Upton, who is in his 11th major league season. It also gave him 100 RBIs on the year.