HOUSTON (AP) Houston's Jon Singleton joined his family, including 6-year-old daughter Maisyn, for a postgame fireworks display Friday night after hitting his first MLB home runs since 2015.
His little girl was happy for his big game, but to her, watching fireworks with daddy was the best part of the night.
“Baseball is kind of on the side," Singleton said. “But fireworks she loves.”
Before that display, Singleton provided plenty of his own fireworks on the field with his first first multi-homer game and a career-high five RBIs in an 11-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.
Singleton homered in his first two at-bats in his first game at Minute Maid Park since 2015, after his contract was selected from Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday.
Out of baseball from 2017-21 before restarting his career in the Mexican League, Friday was the kind of night that once seemed like a distant dream.
“There was this moment in time where I wouldn't say I didn’t imagine it, but it wasn’t even a thought in my mind,” he said. “But as life went on, things changed and it definitely was a thought in my mind that this could be my life again.”
He hit a soaring three-run shot to the second deck in right field off Reid Detmers to put Houston on top 3-1 in the second inning. He lightly flipped his bat after that one and stood at home plate for a couple of seconds to admire his work.
There was one on and one out in the third when he connected off Detmers again to make it 7-3 and end the left-hander’s night. This time, he punctuated the shot with an epic bat flip before trotting to first base.
Asked if he knew the homers were gone off the bat, Singleton chuckled.
“Yeah,” said. “Without a doubt.”
Justin Verlander (7-6), making his second start for the Astros since being traded from the Mets - and first at home - allowed six hits and three runs with seven strikeouts in six innings for the win on a night he became 50th player in major league history to start 500 games. He joins Zack Greinke (536) as the only active pitchers to reach the mark.
Friday was his 251st career win.
“I didn’t know that was a thing to focus on - starts,” he said. “But it feels great. I’ve won one more than half. So, on my way.”
Detmers (2-9) yielded seven runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings for his fourth straight loss.
“He just had trouble with this location today," Angels manager Phil Nevin said. "I thought that the stuff he had, looking at the scoreboard and shapes and the velo’s looked good. Then you watch the film and it’s kind of scattered around the zone.”
C.J. Cron hit a solo homer in the second inning for the Angels, who had a two-game winning streak snapped. Designated hitter Shohei Ohtani went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Singleton’s homers were his first in the majors since he hit one for the Astros in a 6-3 win over the Angels on July 29, 2015. That’s the longest stretch between home runs by a position player in the majors since Rafael Belliard went 10 years and 144 days between the only two homers of his career - for Pittsburgh in 1987 and for Atlanta in 1997. And it’s the longest homer gap by any player since pitcher Jake Peavy went nine years, 52 days between 2006 and 2015.
“Eight years between home runs, that's a long time,” Baker said. “It’s a great story and, the fact that it happened here and he helped us win a ball game with a couple of homers and another hit and five RBIs, that was a great night.”
It was a winding road for Singleton to return to the Astros. The 31-year-old appeared in 114 games for the Astros in 2014 and 2015 after signing a five-year, $10 million contract. He last appeared in a major league game for the Astros on Oct. 2, 2015.
Singleton returned to the majors earlier this season for Milwaukee, playing 11 games before being released. Even then, he never imagined he'd end up back with the Astros after all these years.
“With the Astros, no, definitely not,” he said. “But I’m just grateful and thankful to be here.”
Singleton was in the Astros' organization until before the 2018 season, when he asked for his release after being suspended 100 games for a third positive drug test while playing at Double-A Corpus Christi.
His home runs Friday were his first hits with the Astros this season. He had gone 0 for 4 with two walks in his first two games.
Singleton walked in Houston's three-run fourth and singled in the eighth to tie a career high with three hits.
Angels: CF Mike Trout, who has been out since July 3 with a left hamate fracture, hit off a pitching machine for the first time Friday and Nevin said he is getting close to a return.
Astros: 1B José Abreu (lower back) missed a second straight game Friday. Manager Dusty Baker said he had an MRI and saw a team doctor Friday and they’re hoping the pain will subside and he can avoid going on the injured list. … OF Chas McCormick (bruised left knee) sat out for a second game Friday after injuring his knee diving for a ball Wednesday. ... RHP Phil Maton left the game after being hit on the back by a single from Eduardo Escobar to start the ninth.
Houston RHP J.P. France (8-3, 2.75 ERA) opposes LHP Tyler Anderson (5-3, 4.92) when the series continues Saturday night.
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