Singleton Homers Twice in Verlander’s 500th Start to Lead Astros over Angels 11-3

AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani strikes out during the third inning of the team’s baseball game against the Houston Astros, Friday, Aug. 11, 2023, in Houston.

HOUSTON (AP) — Jon Singleton hit his first MLB home runs since 2015 and Justin Verlander got the win in his 500th career start as the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 11-3 Friday night.

Singleton homered in his first two at-bats for his first multi-homer game and had a career-high five RBIs in his first game at Minute Maid Park since 2015, after his contract was selected from Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday.

He hit a soaring three-run shot to the second deck in right field off Reid Detmers to put Houston on top 3-1 in the second inning. He lightly flipped his bat after that one and stood at home plate for a couple of seconds to admire his work.

There was one on and one out in the third when he connected off Detmers again to make it 7-3 and end the left-hander’s night. This time, he punctuated the shot with an epic bat flip before trotting to first base.

Verlander (7-6), making his second start for the Astros since being traded from the Mets — and first at home — allowed six hits and three runs with seven strikeouts in six innings on a night he became 50th player in major league history to start 500 games. He joins Zack Greinke (536) as the only active pitchers to reach the mark.

Detmers (2-9) yielded seven runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings for his fourth straight loss.

C.J. Cron hit a solo homer in the second inning for the Angels, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts.

Singleton’s homers were his first in the majors since he hit one for the Astros in a 6-3 win over the Angels on July 29, 2015. That’s the longest stretch between home runs by a position player in the majors since Rafael Belliard went 10 years and 144 days between the only two homers of his career — for Pittsburgh in 1987 and for Atlanta in 1997. And it’s the longest homer gap by any player since pitcher Jake Peavy went nine years, 52 days between 2006 and 2015.

It was a winding road for Singleton to return to the Astros. The 31-year-old appeared in 114 games for the Astros in 2014 and 2015 after signing a five-year, $10 million contract. He last appeared in a major league game for the Astros on Oct. 2, 2015.

Singleton was in the Astros’ organization until before the 2018 season, when he asked for his release after being suspended 100 games for a third positive drug test while playing at Double-A Corpus Christi.

Singleton didn’t play organized baseball from 2017 until 2021, when he restarted his career in the Mexican League. He returned to the majors earlier this season for Milwaukee, playing 11 games before being released.

His home runs Friday were his first hits with the Astros this season. He had gone 0 for 4 with two walks in his first two games.

Singleton walked in Houston’s three-run fourth and singled in the eighth to tie a career high with three hits.


Angels: CF Mike Trout, who has been out since July 3 with a left hamate fracture, hit off a pitching machine for the first time Friday and manager Phil Nevin said he is getting close to a return.

Astros: 1B José Abreu (lower back) missed a second straight game Friday. Manager Dusty Baker said he had an MRI and saw a team doctor Friday and they’re hoping the pain will subside and he can avoid going on the injured list. … OF Chas McCormick (bruised left knee) sat out for a second game Friday after injuring his knee diving for a ball Wednesday. … RHP Phil Maton left the game after being hit on the back by a single from Eduardo Escobar to start the ninth.


Houston RHP J.P. France (8-3, 2.75 ERA) opposes LHP Tyler Anderson (5-3, 4.92) when the series continues Saturday night.