The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have a losing record against the Houston Astros. It pains me just to type this line. They are 7-9 against the team that is at the bottom of the American League West. Today brought another loss to the Astros, another series loss against them, and yet another series loss against a team in the Angels’ own division.
It didn’t start out pretty as Jason Vargas pitched for the Angels and gave up a first inning home run to L.J. Hoes (and oh, yeah, it was his first home run!). Brett Oberholtzer started for the Astros, and both Colin Cowgill and Mike Trout got on base in the bottom of the first with just one out for the Angels, but they were unable to capitalize (seems to be a running theme for the year) and were unable to score in the first.
Things looked worse for the Angels when 3 straight singles by Matt Dominguez, Brandon Barnes, and Jake Elmore loaded the bases, Marwin Gonzalez grounded into a double play, scoring Matt Dominguez and moving Brandon Barnes to third, Robbie Grossman hit a double, which scored Brandon Barnes, then Hoes came up to bat again and singled, and Jose Altuve got the third out. It was 3-0 Astros after top of the second inning.
But Josh Hamilton came up to bat and tripled and Chris Nelson hit a sac fly to score him, so things started looking better, with only one out, the deficit had been cut to 2. It started looking even betting for the Angels when Chris Iannetta walked, but then Grant Green struck out and Iannetta was caught stealing to end the inning.
The third inning began with Vargas walking Chris Carter, he got Carlos Corporan to line out, but then loaded the bases again, when Matt Dominguez singled again and Brandon Barnes walked with only one out in the inning. It looked certain that the Astros were going to score more, but Vargas was able to work out of it when he got Jake Elmore to strike out and Marwin Gonzalez to line out.
With 2 out in the bottom of the third, Mike Trout doubled then scored on a single from Mark Trumbo, but Erick Aybar flied out to end the inning for the Angels. But they were slowly chipping away at the lead, which gave me a glimmer of hope for the game.
Then Jason Vargas had his first 1-2-3 inning of the day, setting down Robbie Grossman, L.J. Hoes, and Jose Altuve in order, which gave me more hope for a positive outcome in the game. This hope was strengthened when Josh Hamilton got up to bat for the Angels bottom of the inning and homered to tie the game. But hope of pulling ahead vanished when Nelson, Iannetta, and Green all went down.
The fifth was uneventful for both teams, as the Astros got out 1-2-3 for the second time and the Angels left a leadoff single stranded. Mike Trout was pulled from the game in the sixth inning for what we learned was hamstring tightness (hope to see you back out there soon Mike! It’s not the same without you!), and neither team scored for the second inning.
But with 2 on in the seventh, J.C. Gutierrez (who now wants to be known as Juan Gutierrez) gave up a three run homer to Matt Dominguez, putting the Astros up 6-3. The Angels went down 1-2-3 in the bottom and the precious hope that the Angels would win the game, which had sprung up earlier in the game, started to die.
Then came the eighth and Mike Scioscia brought out Kevin Jepsen. Jake Elmore got things going when he bunted his way on, Marwin Gonzalez kept it going when he singled, Robbie Grossman put down a sac bunt that moved the runners to second and third, Jepsen hit L.J. Hoes to load the bases for the Astros again, then Jose Altuve hit a sac fly, which scored Jake Elmore. Thankfully, Jepsen got Chris Carter to strike out swinging, but the Astros went up 7-3.
In the bottom of the eighth, Colin Cowgill struck out, Kole Calhoun, who was brought in when Mike Trout left the game, walked, and Mark Trumbo hit his team leading 28th home run to bring the score to 7-5, but Aybar lined out and though Hamilton walked (great game for Josh today!), Chris Nelson grounded out, and that was all she wrote as neither team did any more scoring in the ninth.
Angels lose to the Astros 7-5 and now have a losing record against every team in the division. Trying to turn the page, hoping the page is in a different book than the rest of the season has been, the Cleveland Indians come into town tomorrow to begin a 3 game series. Ace Jered Weaver takes the mound for the Angels vs Salazar for the Indians. Game time is 7:05 pm PST, same bat channel.