Astros drop game one of three to Angels
Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 5-4 loss
Riding a five-game winning steak, the Astros were back at home on Friday night after a day off looking to go into the All-Star break with another series win and sweep. Here is how the first of three games went:
Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4
Record: 55-33, first in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Felix Pena (6-2, 4.72 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA).
1) Verlander's struggle with home runs continues
After two quick innings to start the game, Justin Verlander would watch more balls leave the yard in the third inning, making it five straight games with a home run allowed as well as at least three earned runs after a two-run home run by Kole Calhoun then later a solo home run by Shohei Ohtani.
Verlander looked to be back in control after that, until the top of the sixth inning when he allowed a solo home run to lead off the inning, extending the Angels' lead to 4-2. The night didn't come without a highlight, though, as Verlander would get enough strikeouts to pass up Jim Bunning to take over 18th place on the all-time strikeout leaders list.
He would end up still getting through seven innings to save the bullpen's arms. Verlander's final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 3 HR.
2) Unable to close the gap
Michael Brantley was looking in All-Star form in his first at-bat, getting a solo home run to put Houston ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning. After Los Angeles scored three runs on homers of their own in the top of the third, the Astros trimmed their lead to one run when Yuli Gurriel scored Brantley on an RBI-groundout, making it 3-2.
The Angels extended their lead back to 4-2 in the sixth inning, and the Astros wasted a chance in the bottom half of the inning, getting runners on second and third with no outs, loading the bases with two outs, but coming away empty handed. Hector Rondon took over for Justin Verlander to pitch the eighth, but he too would fall victim of a Los Angeles home run, giving up a solo shot to Mike Trout to make it a 5-2 game.
The Astros got a shot in the arm in the bottom of the eighth, getting two more RBIs from Yuli Gurriel who continued his monster pace of late with a two-run home run to trim the lead to 5-4. Josh James was next out of the bullpen and pitched the ninth, a scoreless inning to keep it a one-run game.
Up Next: The Astros will be part of another nationally-televised Saturday evening game on FOX tomorrow at 6:15 PM. The probable starters are Gerrit Cole (8-5, 3.28 ERA) for the Astros going against Andrew Heaney (1-2, 5.40 ERA) for the Angels.
The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.