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DET@HOU: Oberholtzer goes 6 1/3 strong, fans four

Though he grew up a Dodgers fan, Astros rookie Jonathan Singleton is looking forward to making his first Major League appearance near his hometown on Thursday as the Astros will travel to Anaheim to open up a series against the Angels.

The Angels took two of three games from the White Sox in their latest series -- although they dropped Wednesday's finale, 3-2 -- while the Astros will be looking to bounce back from a sweep at the hands of the Mariners.

Singleton, originally from Lakewood, Calif., says his parents and extended family will be in attendance at the game along with some friends.

"I'm very excited. It's pretty much my hometown, for the most part," Singleton said. "Anaheim's really not far from where I'm from, so it'll be a lot of fun."

In the series opener, Singleton and the Houston offense will face Matt Shoemaker, the same pitcher who threw in Singleton's first start with the Astros. Shoemaker is 5-2 in his first season seeing extended Major League action, though his ERA sits at 4.50. His last start was one of his toughest of the season, as he gave up eight runs on 11 hits over four innings against Kansas City.

"Definitely not fun," Shoemaker said. "It's just something that's definitely going to make me tougher. Not that I already wasn't, but you learn from it."

Houston's starter will be Brett Oberholtzer, who has been bouncing back and forth between Triple-A Oklahoma City and the Major League club. He was solid in his most recent start, though, going 6 1/3 innings and allowing one run on five hits.

Astros: Bass activated from disabled list
Reliever Anthony Bass was activated off the disabled list on Wednesday after being sidelined since May 11 with an intercostal strain.

Bass had returned to the team since throwing his final rehab start at Quad Cities on Sunday, but hadn't been activated off the disabled list until Wednesday. The Astros sent Kevin Chapman back to Triple-A Oklahoma City as a corresponding move.

"It feels good to be back," Bass said. "Seems like I've been gone for way too long."

Bass entered Wednesday's 5-2 loss to the Mariners with one out in the sixth and allowed one run on three hits over 1 2/3 innings, with two strikeouts.

Angels: Angels pass halfway point headed in right direction
The first half of the Angels' season came and went in the middle of Tuesday's doubleheader at U.S. Cellular Field, and though the baseball season leaves little time for reflection or introspection, the Angels can take some pride in being on the right track.

Their 46 wins through their first 81 games were the most they've had since doing the same in 2009, the last year they made the playoffs. Their run differential through the halfway point, plus-51, was higher than in any of the previous four years in which they were devoid of meaningful October baseball.

"When the bullpen held leads and pitched to capabilities, we've not only won games, we've gone on great runs," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think our starting pitching has been everything you could hope for in a rotation. And even though we lost Josh [Hamilton], Kole [Calhoun], [David] Freese and some guys didn't swing to their capabilities early, I thought we did a lot of things we need to do on the offensive side -- as far as running the bases, situational hitting, hitting with runners in scoring position -- that has kept the offense afloat while waiting for guys to swing the bat better, which we're seeing. Now you're seeing us become a very productive and very diverse offense."

Through 81 games in recent seasons the Angels were 38-43 through in 2013, 45-36 in 2012, 41-40 in 2011 and 45-36 in 2010 -- compared to their 46-35 mark this year.

Worth noting
• The Angels went 6-0 on their last homestand, giving them their first undefeated homestand of six or more games since 2004, and have won 12 of their last 13 at Angel Stadium. Since May 15, the Angels' 18-4 home record is the best in the Majors.

• Josh Hamilton is 10-for-25 with three home runs and six RBIs against the Astros this season. Howie Kendrick has hits in 13 of his last 15 games against Houston, batting .338 in that span.

• With the addition of Enrique Hernandez and Domingo Santana, the Astros fielded the youngest lineup of any Major League team on Wednesday. Hernandez is 22 and Santana is 21, bringing Houston's average age down to 24.60. Comments