Houston is now 4-1

Angels rally late, hand Astros first loss of 2021

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome