Houston is now 4-1

Angels rally late, hand Astros first loss of 2021

Astros Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Houston dropped their first game of the 2021 season as the Angels rallied late in Monday's game

Starting the day as one of the last few undefeated teams in the league, the Astros entered this short two-game series with the Angels in Anaheim looking to translate their success against the A's. This game would be arguably their toughest so far on paper, with some uncertainty about their current fifth starter Luis Garcia on the mound and going up against Los Angels, who capped off a 3-1 series win against the White sox with a walk-off victory on Sunday night.

It would live up to the expected difficulty, with the Astros dropping their first game of the early season as the Angels would put together an eighth-inning rally to put both teams at 4-1.

Final Score: Angels 7, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 4-1, tied for first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Tony Watson (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Joe Smith (0-1)

Houston keeps to their scoring ways early

Houston jumped out to an immediate lead to keep their scoring ways from Oakland alive. The top of the order was aggressive against Jose Quintana, getting three-straight singles, the third an RBI-single by Alex Bregman to start the scoring. Carlos Correa brought in another on a two-out RBI before a wild pitch brought in a third to put the Astros in front 3-0 before the Angels could get to the plate.



They put together another threat in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back walks to start the inning, followed two batters later by a one-out RBI-single by Jose Altuve to make it 4-0. They went on to load the bases but would strand all three runners, leaving the door open for Los Angeles.

Angels crack Garcia their second time through the order

Luis Garcia looked impressive through the first three innings, keeping the Angels hitless and allowing just two baserunners via walks. In the bottom of the fourth, Mike Trout started a rally by depositing a hanging changeup 417 feet away to get Los Angeles on the board.



Three of the following four batters would single, bringing in another run, making it a 4-2 game. Garcia then loaded the bases with a one-out walk, prompting a pitching change by Dusty Baker to bring in Ryne Stanek to try and stop the bleeding. Stanek would handle the pressure perfectly, sitting down the next two batters to leave the bases loaded. Garcia's final line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 68 P.

Angels rally in the eighth, hand Astros their first loss

Brooks Raley took over on the mound in the bottom of the fifth, not his prettiest inning, as he would allow a run to come in on two hits and a walk to make it a one-run game. Houston's offense manufactured a run of their own in the top of the sixth, with Martin Maldonado leading off with a walk, moving to second on a single by Alex Bregman, then hustling in to score on an RBI-single by Yordan Alvarez.

Bryan Abreu gave his team two scoreless innings, allowing only a one-out single in the seventh while retiring the other six batters he faced to maintain the two-run lead. Joe Smith entered as the setup-man in the bottom of the eighth but would not record an out, giving up two singles and hitting a pinch-hitting Shohei Ohtani to load the bases.

Blake Taylor entered to try and get out of the jam but instead would watch the Angels take their first lead of the night, putting together a four-run inning to jump in front 7-5. Despite a one-out solo home run by Kyle Tucker to make it a one-run game, Houston would come up short in the top of the ninth, earning their first loss of the season and moving down into a tie with the now 4-1 Angels for first place in the division.

Up Next: Tuesday's finale of this short two-game series will be an early start at 3:07 PM. Zack Greinke (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start of the year, while Griffin Canning (2-3, 3.99 ERA in 2020) will make his first start of the season.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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