Corey Seager turned 23 in April, which makes him, in this year of Cody Bellinger, a sage veteran. Bellinger will not turn 22 until July 13. By then, his home run total should well exceed his age. Bellinger blasted his 22nd homer of the season in the Dodgers’ 12-0 drubbing of the New York Mets on Tuesday night, and appeared set to stand beneath the spotlight yet again.

Except that Seager, the reigning National League rookie of the year and a veritable MVP candidate in 2016, offered a reminder of his own gifts. Steady but unspectacular in 2017, Seager staged a remarkable display of power, delivering a trio of home runs for the second time in his career. The exhibition at Dodger Stadium pushed Bellinger, ever so briefly, to the side of the stage — a difficult feat so far in June, as the Dodgers (46-26) have won for the fifth time in a row and the 11th time in 12 games, and Bellinger has been blasting baseballs out of sight seemingly on a daily basis.

“Whatever Bellinger’s doing, I don’t understand,” starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy said. “I think Seager got mad, and decided to give some balls away. It’s really fun to watch those guys hit right now.”

The rest of the Dodgers have begun to join in. A night after hanging 10 runs on their guests, the Dodgers pummeled Mets starter Robert Gsellman and bounced him from the game in the fifth inning. The lineup mashed four homers and scored eight runs against Gsellman. Seager extended the misery to reliever Josh Edgin by taking him deep in the fifth.

The offense created a sizable cushion for McCarthy (6-3, 2.87 earned-run average). McCarthy permitted four singles during six scoreless innings. He did not allow a Met to stand on third base. And the offense insured he would never have to worry about run support.

“It’s fun to watch, it’s fun to be around,” Bellinger said. “We’re just clicking on all cylinders.”

The Dodgers did not wait long to start the barrage. Logan Forsythe led off the first with a single. Four pitches later, Seager blasted a flat changeup from Gsellman beyond the fence in center field. Even so, Seager looked merely like a prelude to Bellinger.

From here, the Mets committed two sins. They made an error to allow Justin Turner to reach base. Then Gsellman hung a curveball to Bellinger, a young man who crushes mistakes. The curve hung at Bellinger’s belt. The ball landed just beyond the right-field fence.

Inside the Dodgers’ dugout, looks of astonishment extended across the railing as the homer took flight. Clayton Kershaw and Chase Utley locked eyes and broke up with laughter. Austin Barnes raised his arms skyward. Enrique Hernandez bugged his eyes and spun his cap around his head.

“What he’s doing is special,” Seager said. “Setting records. There’s no denying what he’s doing right now.”

Each homer creates a new milestone. No rookie has hit this many homers in this short a span of games to start his career. Bellinger became the first rookie to hit 10 homers in 10 games ever, and the first Dodger to do it since Shawn Green in 2002. The clamor for Bellinger to appear in next month’s Home Run Derby will only increase.

An inning later, the Mets devised a handy system for facing Bellinger: They walked him intentionally. The Dodgers could not capitalize, as Yasmani Grandal grounded out with the bases loaded, but the decision offered a hint of what may await Bellinger. Seager needed to adjust to varying strategies from opposing pitchers after he proved his worth at the big league level.

In the fourth inning, Seager fouled off a series of fastballs, curveballs and sliders. On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, Gsellman fed Seager a fastball on the inner half. Seager redirected the pitch toward the opposite field, racing on a line out to left. The solo shot gave him five multi-homer games in his career.

Seager credited a recent improvement in his timing for his performance. “Stuff’s starting to come together,” he said.

Gsellman would not last much longer. Grandal added an opposite-field solo homer. Yasiel Puig and Joc Pederson supplied doubles to produce a run. With Pederson at second, Mets manager Terry Collins showed mercy on Gsellman. Collins assigned Edgin to complete the inning.

The Dodgers did not oblige. Forsythe took a walk to bring up Seager. Edgin spotted a curveball for a strike. The pitch was admirable, but it did not dissuade Seager from hunting a fastball. One arrived on the next pitch, a 92-mph four-seamer that drifted over the middle. Seager smashed another opposite-field drive to complete the trifecta.

Seager came close to a fourth homer, unleashing a long drive with the bases loaded in the sixth. He ended the eighth inning in the on-deck circle, happy to settle with a career-best evening.

“With Corey, we’ve grown to expect greatness every single night,” manager Dave Roberts said. “When he’s throwing out hits and not slugging, we want more. It was a matter of time. It was a special night.”

andy.mccullough@latimes.com

Follow Andy McCullough on Twitter @McCulloughTimes



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The Asian American band the Slants celebrated its hard-earned Supreme Court victory Monday, saying the fight to trademark its racially charged name “has always been much bigger than our band: it’s been about the rights of all marginalized communities to determine what’s best for ourselves.”

The journey to trademark a name that has historically been a racial slur was nearly eight years in the making and “excruciating,” the band said on Facebook

“[W]e’re beyond humbled and thrilled to have won this case at the Supreme Court,” wrote band frontman Simon Tam, who filed the original lawsuit against the Patent and Trademark Office.

“During the fight, we found the Trademark Office justifying the denial of rights to people based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, and political views, simply because they disagreed with the message of these groups.”

Indeed, the decision — which struck down the “disparagement clause” of 1946’s Lanham Act, the federal statute governing trademarks — is seen as likely to pave the way for the Washington Redskins to trademark that name.

Speaking for the 8-0 majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote that the provision violated “a bedrock 1st Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend.” The court took on the case late in September and arguments were heard in January. 

Said Tam, “The establishment of an Asian American band was a political act in of itself, even though we never considered ourselves as a political group.”

In addition to offering up the lyrics of its song “From the Heart” (“Sorry if you take offense / You made up rules and played pretend / We know you fear change / It’s something so strange / But nothing’s gonna get in our way”), the band celebrated in a way appropriate to musicians: It released an extended version of the music video for “Level Up,” embedded below. 

The band’s most recent EP, by the way, is titled “The Band That Must Not Be Named.” It was dedicated, Tam said, to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.



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Brooks Koepka had just tapped in a 20-inch putt to become the 117th U.S. Open champion, and he gave it the cliched low-grade golf fist pump. Twice. That was it.

The celebration was about as muted as you’ll ever see from someone who just won his first major. His performance was anything but.

It capped a week when the biggest names vanished after two rounds, leaving on the leaderboard a collection of rarely seen names. And, boy, there were a lot of names.

But in the end, a four-hole stretch of par and three birdies made Koepka a household name. This U.S. Open wasn’t lost, it was won by a 27-year-old Florida native who had only won one other PGA Tour tournament.

“That’s probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced and to do it on Father’s Day, it’s pretty neat,” Koepka said. “I didn’t exactly get my dad a card, so this works.”

Koepka shot a 67 on his winning round. He had six birdies and one bogey in an exhibition of steady play. He shot under par in all four rounds at Erin Hills golf course.

The margin of victory was four strokes and the winning total was 16 under, equaling the lowest score in relation to par in U.S. Open history. Hideki Matsuyama, who shot a sizzling 66, and Brian Harman, the third-round leader, were at 12 under. Tommy Fleetwood was at 11 under and Xander Schauffele, Bill Haas and Rickie Fowler were one more stroke back.

Koepka was mostly unknown to the casual golf watcher but his athletic build and solid form have made him a favorite of those looking for the next star of their fantasy golf league. Prior to Sunday, his only PGA Tour victory was in the 2015 Waste Management Open in Phoenix. But he’s been close a lot.

His previous best U.S. Open finish was a tie for fourth in 2014.

If you live in Jupiter, Fla., and you were taking one of those childhood tests to figure out which item doesn’t belong, Koepka would have been that odd item out when talking about the community’s pro golfer population.

The city is home to 2016 U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson, four-time major winner Rory McIlroy, 2014 Open runner-up Rickie Fowler and, of course, Tiger Woods. Koepka and Johnson even train and hang out together. Now he truly belongs.

Johnson, who didn’t make the cut, called Koepka on Saturday night.

“It was a long phone call,” Koepka said. “It was like two minutes, it wasn’t much. But he just said a few things, to just stay patient. And I’ll win if I stay patient and just keep doing what I’m doing.”

The stretch during which Koepka won this tournament started on the 13th hole Sunday. He was tied with Harman. His tee shot on the par three ended up rolling off the green and down a slope. He had about 78 feet, mostly uphill, to reach the pin. He put his second shot to within about nine feet. He made the putt.

“That par save was massive on 13,” Koepka said. “That’s the reason I had so much confidence coming down, especially with the par five coming up, knowing that I needed to birdie that.”

Koepka got in trouble again on the par-five 14th when he put his second shot in a bunker. But a brilliant sand shot put the ball to about four feet for birdie. He made the putt.

“Leaving that in the bunker wasn’t that bad,” he said. “Anywhere over there was fine.”

Actually, all he probably had to do to win the tournament was par out. He had a two-shot lead over Matsuyama, who was in the clubhouse.

But on 15, which was the toughest-playing hole on the course Sunday, he put his approach about 10 feet away for a birdie attempt. He made the putt.

And on 16, a par three, he put his tee shot 17 feet away for a chance at his third birdie in a row. He made the putt.

He had a four-shot lead with two holes to play. He parred them both.

“I played really solid from the moment we got here on Monday and all the way through [Sunday],” Koepka said. “The ball-striking was pretty solid. It had to be, especially with the wind. And I got out there with the putter a little bit [Sunday] and all week. So all around my game is pretty solid and I couldn’t be happier.”

Harman, who was playing in the final group just behind Koepka, had lost all his energy as he approached the 18th hole, where a par would have given him sole possession of second place. He bogeyed the hole.

“It bites a little bit right now,” Harman said. “But Brooks played so well today. The conditions were so tough. So you’re in the next-to-last group and you shoot the [second] lowest round of the day, that’s tough, that’s tough.”

Matsuyama had the round of the day, a six-under 66. He had eight birdies and two bogeys.

“We watched the finish in the clubhouse on TV,” Matsuyama said. “Brooks is a good friend of ours and we’re happy for him. Wish him well and congratulate him. I’ll try and beat him next time.”

The U.S. Open returns to one of its more traditional (read: difficult) courses next year when it goes back to Shinnecock Hills in the Hamptons.

Koepka won’t be anonymous. There will be expectations. But his resume will be looking a whole lot better than this year.

john.cherwa@latimes.com

Twitter: @jcherwa



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Twenty minutes after the Angels lost 3-1 to Kansas City on Friday at Angel Stadium, several Angels hitters lingered in the clubhouse and tried to figure out what went wrong.

They had succumbed, again, to the RoyalsIan Kennedy, the veteran right-hander with a 0.64 ERA against them this season and a 6.29 ERA against everyone.

“We’ve all been talking about it,” said Cliff Pennington, who supplied the lone run. “We’ve gotta figure out what the rest of the league has and we don’t.”

That could apply to the rest of the Royals too. In five games, all losses, against Kansas City this season, the Angels have mustered six runs. They have amassed 21 hits — roughly four per game.

On Friday, Kennedy carried a perfect game into the sixth inning, facing only four three-ball counts. First was Ben Revere, in the third, who saw a first-pitch fastball for a strike and then three misses. He grounded out on the next pitch. With one out in the fifth, Kennedy opened up a 3-and-0 count against Luis Valbuena, then threw back-to-back strikes before Valbuena flied out.

With one out in the sixth, Martin Maldonado battled to a 3-and-2 count, then whiffed at a high fastball. Next up, Pennington worked the count to 3-1, then pounced on a fastball. The utility man hammered a homer to right field for his first extra-base hit of the season.

“Maybe I’ll rattle off 10 in a row here now,” he joked.

Cameron Maybin next slapped a double down the left-field line and Kole Calhoun walked, but Albert Pujols popped out to second. In the seventh inning, Kennedy gave way to left-hander Mike Minor, who did not give up a hit.

The Angels’ last hit was Revere’s eighth-inning single against Joakim Soria.

The Royals made several worthy defensive plays: Merrifield dove to prevent a Maldonado grounder from leaving the infield in the third; Alcides Escobar trapped a fast-moving Revere liner and threw quickly to first in the sixth.

Angels starter Jesse Chavez’s downfall his season has been speeding up out of the stretch. Consistently, he has cruised through most innings and then unraveled suddenly, after a single or a leadoff walk. Opponents have logged an on-base-plus-slugging percentage nearly 300 points better when runners are on base.

That was not an issue Friday, as most of the Royals’ hits came without a man on base. Their first run was a two-out solo shot to left field by Lorenzo Cain in the third inning.

The lone blip that resembled the previous array came in the fifth, when Alex Gordon led off with a single into center field. Whit Merrifield soon singled through to right. Jorge Bonifacio roped a line drive bound for the right-center gap, but Pennington, playing second, speared it at the top of his leap and threw to first to secure a fortunate double play. Cain followed with a clean run-scoring single into right field.

After a leadoff double in the sixth, Chavez retired six straight Royals to match his season-high for innings finished.

His starting-pitching position appeared in jeopardy earlier this week, but his positive performance, in tandem with Matt Shoemaker’s injury and Doug Fister’s triple-A struggles, solidifies his spot some.

“He tried to do a couple things,” Scioscia said of Chavez’s on-base issues. “Tonight, he had a lot of traffic. And, out of the stretch, I think he had good rhythm and tempo and made pitches. Jesse keeps trying to evolve as a pitcher.”

Rookie right-hander Keynan Middleton took over for the eighth and immediately allowed another solo shot to Cain, off a 98-mph fastball. He gave way to closer Bud Norris the next inning, and score remained 3-1.

Kelvin Herrera entered. He induced a tapper from Calhoun, a popout from Pujols, and a groundout from Yunel Escobar.

The game was over in two hours, 38 minutes, one of the shortest the Angels have played this season.

In Kansas City in April, the Angels and Royals twice played in two hours, 37 minutes. It turns out games without hits and runs tend to go quickly.

The Angels (35-36) have hovered within two games of .500 more than one month, and within three games of .500 for all but two of this season’s 77 days.

pedro.moura@latimes.com

Follow Pedro Moura on Twitter @pedromoura



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Depth was a worry for the Galaxy even before the first whistle blew this season. Then came a rash of injuries that sidelined nine starters for multiple games, doing little to ease that concern.

Now comes arguably the biggest test for the team’s battered roster: a run of seven games in 20 days, beginning with Wednesday’s 3-1 victory over Orange County SC in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup.

Jack McBean’s penalty-kick score in the 36th minute at the StubHub Center proved the difference, coming after an exchange of goals from the Galaxy’s Jose Villarreal and Orange County’s Roy Meeus in the first 26 minutes.

Ari Lassiter added an insurance goal in the 73rd minute for the Galaxy, who are unbeaten in seven games dating to April 23.

And the Galaxy’s reward for the win?

Another game squeezed into the schedule, for the fifth round of the Open Cup on June 28.

“These games are important,” Galaxy coach Curt Onalfo said. “You have to utilize your roster for the next 21/2 weeks … and guys have to step up.”

In a nod to the upcoming schedule and in an effort to give playing time to bench players he’ll need over the next three weeks, Onalfo started only three regulars Wednesday, then subbed on one more late in the second half.

That proved to be more than enough.

Villarreal gave the Gal-axy the lead in the 17th minute, surprising Orange County keeper Charlie Lyon by pulling up about 25 yards from the goal and unleashing a wicked shot that bent over Lyon’s outstretched arm.

“That was a world-class goal,” Onalfo said.

Orange County needed only nine minutes to get that back, with Meeus, a Belgian defender, scoring from the top of the 18-yard box on a designed play. But that was as close as the United Soccer League club, the second-tier affiliate of fledgling Los Angeles FC, would get despite the fact it outshot its MLS opponent, 16-13.

The U.S. Open Cup, the oldest domestic tournament in the country and one open to teams from the top five tiers of the U.S. soccer pyramid, hasn’t been kind to the Galaxy. They’ve advanced past the quarterfinals once in the last 10 years and haven’t won the tournament since 2005.

Their difficulty with the tournament hardly sets them apart, however, because six MLS teams lost their fourth-round games this week.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Twitter: kbaxter11



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Eric Young Jr. spent much of the last four years trying to get back to the big leagues. Home runs were not on his radar. He hit three, total, between 2013 and 2016.

Somehow, in two weeks with the Angels, the 32-year-old journeyman has managed to match that total. His third propelled the team into extra innings Tuesday night at Angel Stadium, an eighth-inning solo shot that tied the score. The Angels and New York Yankees stayed that way until the 11th inning, when Young lined the winning single off Ben Heller after two of his teammates drew walks to give the Angels a 3-2 victory.

It was a tight game in which each team committed one sizable gaffe to allow a run.

To begin, Angels starter JC Ramirez struck out Brett Gardner, then yielded a sharp single to Aaron Hicks. Up walked rookie sensation Aaron Judge to loud applause. Before he delivered his second pitch, Ramirez peeled back for a pickoff attempt and caught Hicks off-guard.

On a 3-and-2 count, Ramirez spun a 90-mph slider onto the outside edge of the strike zone. Judge swung and missed, but catcher Martin Maldonado missed it, too, and Judge reached first.

Matt Holliday tapped the next pitch to third base, where Yunel Escobar fielded it cleanly but threw the ball into the photographer’s well. With runners on third and second, Maldonado visited Ramirez on the mound, and chants of “Let’s go, Yankees!” became audible.

Ramirez struck out Starlin Castro on a far-out slider to end the inning. He cruised through the next two innings on three groundouts, a popout, a strikeout, and a deep fly to the center-field warning track.

In the fourth, the Yankees began to strike the ball with force. Judge stroked a line drive to right field, where Kole Calhoun came in to catch it. Holliday lined a ball to Andrelton Simmons at shortstop. He caught it, too. Castro walked on four pitches before Gary Sanchez grounded out.



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Cody Bellinger became the first player to homer off Indians star reliever Andrew Miller in 2017, Clayton Kershaw gutted through seven innings and the Dodgers secured a 7-5 series opening victory at Progressive Field.

Bellinger supplied enough power to lift a hanging slider over the right-field fence and break a deadlock in the eighth inning. Miller had faced 121 batters this year and kept each man in the park. Bellinger was the first left-handed hitter to take Miller deep since Twins first baseman Joe Mauer did so on Aug. 1, 2016.

As insurance, an inning later, Bellinger deposited another slider, this one from left-handed reliever Boone Logan, in the right-field seats. The three-run shot gave him 17 home runs on the season. He has hit multiple homers in a game four times this season. Only two other Dodgers rookies have accomplished such a feat — Mike Piazza in 1993 and Corey Seager in 2016.

The Dodgers were forced to use Kenley Jansen in a save situation despite taking a five-run lead into the ninth. Chris Hatcher gave up a three-run homer to 31-year-old journeyman Daniel Robertson.

Kershaw operated with insufficient command of his fastball, too often either sending the pitch over the heart of the plate or outside the strike zone. He still held the Indians to a pair of runs on six hits. He logged seven innings for the seventh time in eight games.

The Dodgers (40-25) struck first. Appearing in an American League park for the first time this season, Yasiel Puig fell to the No. 9 spot in the batting order. He came up with two outs and a runner aboard in the second inning. Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer pumped a 1-1 fastball down the middle. Puig drove the baseball beyond the center-field fence.

The Indians responded with pressure on Kershaw. In the first inning, he had wriggled free from a jam after a leadoff double by second baseman Jason Kipnis. Kershaw answered by procuring three outs in six pitches.

Kershaw could not repeat that sequence in the third. He got punished for an inside fastball to Robertson, who doubled into the left-field corner. Kershaw secured two quick outs, but fell behind outfielder Michael Brantley. In a 2-0 count, Kershaw allowed a fastball to drift over the middle. Brantley stroked it into right for an RBI single.



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Christen Press scored in the 60th minute to help the U.S. women’s national team beat Norway 1-0 on Sunday. It was her 42nd international goal.

Mallory Pugh, a 19-year-old who earlier this year decided to go pro rather than play college soccer, injured her ankle in warmups, according to U.S. Soccer. She was replaced in the starting lineup by Meghan Klingenberg.

Midfielder Rose Lavelle appeared to injure her hamstring late in the game and gingerly walked off the field. Lavelle was replaced by Carli Lloyd, who did not start against Norway after playing in a 1-0 victory over Sweden on Thursday, the first stop on the two-game European Tour.

Several players did not make the trip because of injury, including Morgan Brian (knee), Tobin Heath (back) Alex Morgan (hamstring) and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris (quad).

Norway, ranked No. 11 in the world, has had the most success historically against the Americans with 19 wins. The previous meeting occurred in the 2015 Algarve Cup in Portugal, when Lloyd scored twice in the second half for a 2-1 U.S. victory.

The U.S. women, the reigning Women’s World Cup champions, have won four straight after a two-game losing streak. Those two losses, in the SheBelieves Cup tournament, were the first consecutive losses in the United States for the team in 17 years. The second-ranked Americans will next play on home soil in the Tournament of Nations, opening the four-team multi-city event with Brazil on July 27 in Seattle.



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When the final out was made, Chris Rivera pumped his fist and let out a yell as he turned toward the Cal State Fullerton dugout.

It was the exclamation point on a postseason clash that delivered as promised, with outstanding pitching, spiked with late drama and edginess.

Rivera provided the last ingredient when he closed out a 3-0 win for Long Beach State in Game 1 of the NCAA super regional Friday at Blair Field.

It was the topping for the Dirtbags, who rode seven scoreless innings by starter Darren McCaughan and a three-run first inning, plus Rivera’s wild-ride save, to get the first win in the best-of-three series that continues Saturday. The winner of this series advances to the College World Series.

McCaughan was perfect through four innings and gave up two hits in possibly his last start at the packed house, which featured Titans’ orange on one side, Dirtbags’ black-and-white on the other and the blond locks of McCaughan on the mound.

“I think the fans are huge,” McCaughan said. “You kind of build off them, but at the same time you don’t really make the game bigger than it is. You kind of let the fans do that. They get all fired up. It’s a great atmosphere, and you just kind of feed off that.”

McCaughan’s work was nearly undone when Fullerton loaded the bases with one out in the ninth on closer Rivera, who then struck out Hunter Cullen and Chris Hudgins to end the game.

“Nothing’s going to be easy, especially at this time of the year, and especially going through those guys,” Long Beach State coach Troy Buckley said. “They’re always going to make a push. They’re always going to make a run, and they did in the ninth and Riv found a way to wiggle his way out of it.”

Fullerton coach Rick Vanderhook seemed to refer to Rivera when asked if his starter, Connor Seabold, was too amped up at the start.

“You should wait till the end and you get amped up and pop off and show somebody up like their guy did at the end of the game, but we didn’t get that opportunity. And if we do, I’m sure our guys will do the same thing,” Vanderhook said.



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At 5:30 p.m. Friday at Minute Maid Park, Cameron Maybin participated in one last session of batting practice to prove to the Angels he was ready to be activated from the disabled list.

At 6 p.m., they reinstated him and inserted him atop their lineup. And, at 7:11 p.m., the outfielder took control of a game the Angels went on to win 9-4 over the American League West-leading Houston Astros.

“I just really enjoy creating some havoc out there,” Maybin said.

Since they were shut out Wednesday in Detroit, the Angels have amassed 20 runs in two games. They reached base 20 times Friday, paced by Maybin’s two singles, double, walk, and career-high four stolen bases.

“My timing was actually much better than I thought it’d be,” he said after spending 10 days off because of a bruised oblique.

Said Astros manager A.J. Hinch: “It made me wish he spent one more day on the DL.”

Maybin began the game with a cue-shot single. Soon, he stole second and third while Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar drew walks. In a two-and-two count, Luis Valbuena checked his swing on a fastball below the zone, the seventh pitch of his plate appearance.

Given a reprieve by third-base umpire Bill Miller, he passed on Astros starter Brad Peacock’s next pitch and walked to force in a run.

The Angels managed more in the second, after Eric Young Jr. singled and Danny Espinosa walked. Peacock promptly picked Young off of second base, but Maybin smashed a ground-rule double to right to score Espinosa. Kole Calhoun rapped a single to right to score Maybin before Pujols grounded into an inning-ending double play.



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