Cody Clark sparks Astros vs. Angels

Cody Clark sparks Astros vs. Angels
September 14, 2013, 12:15 am
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Cody Clark thankful to be latest Gatorade victim

Sep 13, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros catcher Cody Clark (39) smiles in the dugout after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Minute Maid Park.

(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Matt Dominguez hit his second career grand slam on Friday that played a big part in the Astros’ 9-7 win over the Angels at Minute Maid Park, sending the team to their fourth straight win.

And all Dominguez and the rest of his teammates wanted to talk about after the game was Cody Clark, the 31-year-old catcher who got his first major league hit in his 26th at-bat.

“Before they even put it up on the big board, everybody (fans) was really excited for him,” said Dominguez. “That’s the loudest I’ve (heard) for just a hit this year.

“Everybody was excited for him. He’s a great guy, works hard, and is a great teammate. It was nice to see.”

Clark’s hit was one of 14 by the Astros, who also got a three-run home run from Jose Altuve to make a winner out of Dallas Keuchel (6-9), who tied his career high with nine strikeouts.

“Everybody kind of erupted,” said Keuchel, commenting on Clark’s first hit. “It was pure happiness. It was one of the better sights I’ve seen in professional baseball. “

The players in the Astros bullpen also showed their support for Clark when he got the hit.

“If you looked down at the bullpen everybody had their hat off. We were shaking it upside down for him. And when he got that hit, we all went nuts in the pen,” said Josh Fields, who retired the Angels in order in the ninth inning for his fifth save. After the game Astros manager Bo Porter announced that Fields is the closer for the remainder of the season.

Clark’s hit was not only the most talked about, it jump-started a six-run fifth inning that erased a 4-3 Angels lead. Clark led off the inning with a single to left-center off Angels starter Jason Vargas (8-7).

Dominguez’s grand slam off reliever Cory Rasmus gave the Astros a 9-4 lead. The Astros had taken a 5-4 lead off Vargas on a two-run single by Trevor Crowe, who had three hits.

Friday was Clark’s 11th major league game. It hasn’t taken long for him to be totally embraced by his teammates and the coaching staff.

Asked to describe the emotion when he got to first base and looked at his teammates in the dugout, Clark said, “It was amazing. I can’t even describe it because they have been so supportive of me. Everyday they’re telling me ‘you’re going to get it. Don’t worry.’ It was good to score a run and get in there and give them all high-fives and hugs.

“It’s always nice to contribute to a victory. That makes it more special. They were so happy for me. Bo came up to me three times and said congratulations.”

There was a lot for the Astros to celebrate on Friday. Reliever Josh Zeid got Mark Trumbo to hit into a 6-4-3 double play with the bases loaded to end the eighth inning and the Astros holding on to the 9-7 lead. Jonathan Villar had three hits and Altuve and Brandon Barnes picked up two hits each.

The Astros’ four-game winning streak ties their second-longest of the season. The last time Houston won four straight was from June 12-16.

“We’ve had other times throughout the course of the year that we played well in certain aspects, but this is the best complete baseball we’ve played all year,” said Porter.