Houston is now 10-11

Astros back below .500 as Angels use late runs to avoid series sweep

Lance McCullers Jr. tossed a quality start Sunday. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Having worked their way back to .500 on the season by taking the first three games of this four-game series against Los Angeles, the Astros hoped to keep their momentum alive to make it a series sweep and improve to a winning record. The Angels would get some late runs to avoid the sweep, though, and flip-flopping positions in the division as the Astros fall back to a losing record and to fourth in the division:

Final Score: Angels 4, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 10-11, fourth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Chris Rodriguez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-2)

McCullers Jr. works around a tough fifth to get a quality start

Pitching on extended rest due to missing his last start with vaccine-related illness, Lance McCullers Jr. had a good outing despite one tough inning. After a 22-pitch first, he would settle in to retire ten in a row to start the fifth inning at 55 pitches and no runs allowed.

He lost momentum in the fifth, though, starting by hitting Albert Pujols with a pitch before loading the bases on a single and a walk. That would set up a bad-luck two-out two-RBI single that bounced up the first-base line and bounced up off the bag and out of the reach of Yuli Gurriel to extend the inning and give the Angels a 2-0 lead. Still, McCullers Jr. would finish that inning before returning for a scoreless sixth, completing a quality start: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 106 P.

Gurriel ties it in the seventh

Houston, who exploded for sixteen runs on Saturday, did not repeat that success against Dylan Bundy on Sunday through the first six innings. Over that span, they managed just two hits while getting just two runners to second base. Yuli Gurriel would finally get to Bundy, taking advantage of a hit-by-pitch to Yordan Alvarez in the at-bat prior by launching a two-run homer to tie the game and chase Bundy out of the game.

Angels pull ahead late to avoid the sweep

Luis Garcia was first out of Houston's bullpen and erased a one-out double to get through a scoreless top of the seventh. In the eighth, he would give up a 440-foot go-ahead solo homer to Shohei Ohtani, putting the Angels back in front 3-2. He would go two more outs while hitting a batter before Brooks Raley would enter to get the third out.

After a 1-2-3 inning at the plate in the bottom of the eighth, Raley remained in the game in the top of the ninth to try and keep it a one-run game. Instead, a double then RBI single with one out would extend Los Angeles' lead to 4-2 before he would finish the inning. Houston would come up empty in the bottom of the ninth, coming a game short of the sweep and falling back to fourth place in the division and one game below .500.

Up Next: The second half of this eight-game homestand will start Monday night as the Astros welcome in the Mariners for a four-game series at 7:10 PM Central. Jose Urquidy (0-2, 5.14 ERA) will kick off the series for Houston, while Justus Sheffield (1-1, 4.86 ERA) will be on the mound for Seattle.

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How many games will the Texans win? Composite image by Jack Brame.

We found out on Wednesday morning that the Texans will be hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars Week 1 at NRG. According to the Vegas oddsmakers, the Jaguars are favored by 1.5 points despite starting rookie QB Trevor Lawrence on the road in his first NFL game.

The big news on Wednesday night involves the NFL's reveal of the rest of the 2021 schedule. Check out the Texans schedule below and be sure to leave your predictions in the comment section on social media. We'll have a full breakdown of the Texans entire schedule on Thursday, so be sure to come back to SportsMap for an in-depth discussion.

Week One: Jacksonville @ Houston

Week Two: Houston @ Cleveland

Week Three: (TNF) Carolina @ Houston

Week Four: Houston @ Buffalo

Week Five: New England @ Houston

Week Six: Houston @ Indianapolis

Week Seven: Houston @ Arizona

Week Eight: Los Angeles Rams @ Houston

Week Nine: Houston @ Miami

Week Ten: BYE

Week Eleven: Houston @ Tennessee

Week Twelve: New York Jets @ Houston

Week Thirteen: Indianapolis @ Houston

Week Fourteen: Seattle @ Houston

Week Fifteen: Houston @ Jacksonville

Week Sixteen: Los Angeles Chargers @ Houston

Week Seventeen: Houston @ San Francisco

Week Eighteen: Tennessee @ Houston

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