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OAK@LAA: Santiago fans eight, lets up just three hits

Angels southpaw Hector Santiago in his last start almost picked up his first win since Aug. 18, 2013. Almost.

On June 28, Santiago led the Royals, 2-0, after four innings at Kauffman Stadium, but his outing was interrupted by a nearly four-hour rain delay.

Santiago, who is battling right-hander Matt Shoemaker for the fifth spot in Anaheim's rotation, scattered four hits over four scoreless innings, but had to settle for a no-decision, as the Angels went on to win, 6-2.

"It seems like anything that can have an effect on a win or me getting a win is happening," he said. "Everybody's like, 'We'll get you a win one of these days.' I'm like, 'As long as we get a win.'"

The Angels, after outfielder Mike Trout sent them to their eighth consecutive home win with a walk-off homer in Friday night's 7-6 victory, face Houston right-hander Scott Feldman.

Feldman has thrown the second-highest percentage of curveballs in the Majors Leagues this season at 32 percent (minimum 780 innings pitched). Only Josh Beckett (32.2 percent) has thrown more.

"It's been a good pitch for me for a couple of years," Feldman said. "Why not throw a pitch that works for me? It hasn't been quite as good this year, but I'm getting a better feel for it as we move along here."

Feldman has never been a power arm, he said, but he used to be able to get away with throwing fastballs in hitters' counts. That's no longer always the case.

"Now I've kind of learned from giving up a lot of hard-hit balls that you've got to keep the hitter guessing a little bit better," he said. "It's not like I went out this year and said I wanted to lead the league in curveball percentage. [I've] just really tried to not give them any patterns and keep a good mix."

Astros: Springer heating up on bases
Astros hotshot rookie George Springer was a proficient base stealer in the Minor Leagues, racking up 45 in 2013 between Double-A and Triple-A.

He entered Friday with only four steals in 68 games with the Astros, but three of those had come in the previous five games.

Springer did deal with some knee soreness earlier in the year, and manager Bo Porter said the knee and other factors probably have kept Springer from running rampant on the bases like he did in the Minor Leagues.

"At the beginning, he was dealing with some soreness in his knee," Porter said. "I think that's behind him and you will start to see him run more out there.

"I think that when you look at the times in which he was on, sometimes there wasn't a real opportunity. It could be a situation where the sore knee caused it and the guy in the batter's box may dictate that it is not a good opportunity to run, but I like the fact he's starting to run. That's part of his game, a huge part of his game, and it can give us that much more of an advantage."

Angels: Freese returning to form
Third baseman David Freese struggled to start the season but rebounded to hit .280 in June and .400 in his last 10 games, with eight RBIs.

Freese went 2-for-3 with two RBIs on Thursday, then 2-for-4 on Friday, lifting his batting average to .250.

"We need him," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully, he's finding a comfort level. His last 30 or so at-bats, he's starting to hit the ball a little bit better and drive the ball a little bit better. We need David."

All three of the Freese' homers have been to either center or right field and his two-run double on Thursday found the gap in right-center.

"I think I'm just getting through the baseball and I'm not trying to hit it over there, it's just where my mechanics and my approach allow me to do it," Freese said. "If you're using the whole field, you're going to have a better chance to be successful."

Worth noting
• The Angels have won 14 of their last 15 home games and 19 of 22.

• The Astros have lost five games in a row.

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