Angels Pluck Peacock, 7-1

Another short night for an Astro starter
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The Astros were eliminated from any playoff chance Thursday while they were idle so the final series of the 2016 season is being played with nothing more than pride at stake. After Houston drew first blood on a ground-rule double by Teoscar Hernandez scored Carlos Correa, the Angels of Anaheim responded with a four-run frame and coasted to a 7-1 decision Friday night at the Big A.

Brad Peacock, who deserved a win with some of his prior starts in September but entered the game with no record, ran out of luck as the Halos pounded him for all seven runs in 4-2/3rd innings. He gave up five hits and four walks.

Kaleb Cowart had the key hit of the game, drilling a bases-loaded double in the second over the head of Hernandez in right which plated all three runners. He took third on the throw home. Cowart was able to score on a caught stealing which turned into a rundown as Cowart pranced home with the fourth tally.

In the third, Jefry Marte powered a solo homer over the left field fence to build a 5-1 lead. Aldrelton Simmons provided the final two scores with an RBI single to right in the fifth.

As the season winds down, the MVP race in the AL appears to be between Anaheim's Mike Trout and Houston's Jose Altuve with Boston's David Ortiz another possibility. Altuve had a harmless single in three attempts. Trout was hitless with a walk in four trips. Altuve's .337 batting average would seem to secure he will take the American League batting title for the second time in his career.

The two teams reach the next-to-last game of their seasons on Saturday in an 8:05 Central contest. Collin McHugh (12-10) will get a final chance to pad his stats when he starts for Houston against lefthander Tyler Skaggs (3-3) from nearby Woodland Hills, CA. The loss insured that the Astros would finish third in the AL West behind the Rangers and Mariners.

- Bob Hulsey