ANAHEIM, Calif. — Tyler Skaggs final start wasn’t the one he wanted, though he was happy to get in some healthy reps.
Instead, Collin McHugh shined on the mound by pitching three-hit ball over 7 2/3 innings to help the Houston Astros beat the Los Angeles Angels 3-0 on Saturday night.
Skaggs (3-4) was removed after 1 2/3 innings, leaving the game with two on and two out and adhering to his strict 45-pitch limit. Skaggs returned after missing time with a mild left pronator flexor strain and made his 10th start since having Tommy John surgery. He wanted to face live hitters once more before shutting it down for the year.
“This season has had its ups and downs, like everybody said it would,” Skaggs said. “Nobody told me it was going to be this hard of a road coming back. But my arm feels great, so I’m happy about that.”
Skaggs will skip the instructional league in an effort to preserve his elbow.
“All his pitches looked sharp and he came out of it feeling great, so know he’s healthy and that’s important,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t think he has anything else that he’s going need to prove or work on down there right now.”
Jose Altuve reached base three times and scored once, Jake Marisnick went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI and Evan Gattis drove in two runs.
McHugh (13-10) was perfect through 4 2/3 innings until Andrelton Simmons singled through the right side. In his longest start since May 30, McHugh walked one and struck out five to win his sixth decision in his last eight starts. McHugh has dominated Los Angeles, winning eight straight dating to the 2014 season.
“It caps a really sensational September for him where he really put up a lot of good games,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said.
McHugh has won 13 consecutive September/October starts, the longest such streak for any major league pitcher.
“If that’s going to be my last start, then I’ll take it,” McHugh said. “I always pride myself on being a finisher and being stronger down the stretch than at any point in time during the season.”
The Angels put two on with two out in the ninth, but Rafael Ortega stranded the runners with a flyball to center field before Ken Giles converted his 15th save.
The Astros scored runs in the second, third and seventh innings. They chased Skaggs from the game after Marisnick singled to left to score Tyler White.
“I wasn’t going out there with any goal, I was just going out there trying to feel good,” Skaggs said. “I didn’t want to go out there and walk people, but overall my elbow felt great.”
Yuliesky Gurriel doubled to lead off the third and was moved over by Altuve’s fly ball to right field. Gattis’ grounder bounced high over Simmons’ head at shortstop for a single to score Gurriel. Altuve scored from first on Gattis’ single in the seventh to cap the scoring.
Angels: RHP Jered Weaver will not make his final start of the season Sunday and will be replaced by RHP Jhoulys Chacin. Weaver left his last start against Oakland with lower-back tightness and determined that his progression isn’t far enough along to risk making another start.
Astros: RHP Brady Rodgers will make his first major league start. The Houston-area native has been scoreless in each of his last three outings — three innings — and is 0-0 with a 19.29 ERA.
Angels: Chacin made his last start against Houston, taking a no-decision after giving up two unearned runs over four innings. Chacin is 4-6 as a starter this season.