Houston continues to lose in heartbreaking fashion

Astros swept by Angels after several blown leads in high-scoring doubleheader

Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images.

After the deflating loss in extra innings to start the series, the Astros had a chance at two wins on Saturday, playing a doubleheader against the Angels in Los Angeles. Here are how both games unfolded:

Game 1

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 10, Astros 9.

Record: 21-17, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Felix Pena (3-0, 3.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Enoli Paredes (1-2, 3.60 ERA).

Both teams trade blows early

After the same duo brought in the walk-off run the night prior, Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani worked together to score the doubleheader's first run on an RBI-single by Ohtani, giving Los Angeles a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. The Astros responded quickly, getting a solo home run by Kyle Tucker in the top of the second to even the game 1-1.

The expanded upon that by putting up three runs with two outs in the top of the third, two on a two-RBI single by Yuli Gurriel, then an RBI-infield single by Kyle Tucker, giving Houston a 4-1 lead. Trout would strike again in the bottom of the same inning, hitting a two-run home run to make it a one-run game at 4-3, then Jo Adell started the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to tie the game. Brandon Bielak, Houston's starter, would record two more outs before Dusty Baker would dip into his bullpen to try and slow the recent surge by the Angels. His final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 2 HR, 77 P.

The back and forth continues

Chris Devenski would make his return to the mound off the injured list for Houston, appearing in his first game since July 26th, finishing the fourth for Bielak. George Springer led off the fifth with a triple, then scored on a go-ahead RBI-single by Myles Straw. Straw would later come around to score on another RBI by Kyle Tucker, a single to make it 6-4.

Devenski continued in the fifth and would complete the inning, but not before a double by Mike Trout would turn into a two-run game-tying home run by Justin Upton, making it 6-6 with two innings left. The Angels would go back in front in the bottom of the sixth against Cy Sneed, getting a one-out walk then RBI-double to make it 7-6, and nearly made it 8-6 if not for a great throw to get a runner out at home.

Astros go up two in the seventh, Angels do one better to take game 2

Down to their last three outs to try and tie or go-ahead, the Astros would break through. Myles Straw led off the frame with a double, then scored in the next at-bat with an RBI-single by Michael Brantley to tie the game. Later in the inning, Carlos Correa would come through with a big two-out double to keep the inning alive, setting up the go-ahead two-RBI single by Martin Maldonado, putting Houston back out front at 9-7.

Blake Taylor, who finished the sixth for Cy Sneed, would try to wrap things up in the bottom of the seventh to help Houston avoid dipping further into their depleted bullpen. Instead, he issued back-to-back walks, prompting a change to bring in Enoli Parades. Paredes would not be unable to get it done, though, allowing an RBI-double before a walk-off two-RBI single to hand the Angels the win in Game 1.

Game 2

Final Score (7 innings): Angels 7, Astros 6.

Record: 21-18, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Noe Ramirez (1-0, 4.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 8.31 ERA).

Astros keep the scoring going in Game 2

With the second game being a makeup of a game meant to be at Minute Maid Park, the Astros would play as the home team with the Angels batting first. That meant Jose Urquidy, making his 2020 debut after missing time due to a positive COVID test and resulting quarantine period, would be on the mound first. He was able to erase a two-out walk of Mike Trout for a scoreless first inning.

George Springer would give the Astros the first run of game two, leading off the bottom of the first with a dinger to make it a 1-0 Houston lead. They extended the early lead in the bottom of the second, getting two on base to start the inning to set up a three-run home run by Josh Reddick, making it 4-0.

Urquidy allows a couple of runs in his return

The Angels would get their first run against Urquidy in the top of the fourth, as Mike Trout would once again reach base with a double before later scoring on an RBI-single by Albert Pujols. He would go on to load the bases with one out, and the Astros would cede one run for an out on an RBI-groundout, making it 4-2 and leaving runners on second and third.

Dusty Baker, who likely was reaching Urquidy's pitch limit for the night, used the opportunity to move to another returning pitcher, Brad Peacock. Peacock would get the final out of the inning, making Urquidy's line final: 3.2 IP, 4H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR, 63 P.

Springer homers again, but another blown lead hands Angels the doubleheader sweep

Peacock would face traffic in the top of the fifth, putting the first two runners on base with a single and a hit-by-pitch. Both would advance on a long out by Trout before scoring on a two-RBI single by none other than Albert Pujols, knotting the game up 4-4. George Springer would put the Astros back in front in the bottom of the inning, hitting his second home run of the game, this a two-run go-ahead dinger off of Jo Adell's glove to make it 6-4.

With Peacock also reaching his pitch limit, the Astros turned to one of their last fresh arms, Humberto Castellanos, who struck out the side in the top of the sixth. He returned to try and complete a two-inning save in the top of the seventh, but after putting two on base on a single and walk would allow a three-run go-ahead bomb to Anthony Rendon, giving the Angels a 7-6 lead. Los Angeles would hold Houston scoreless in the bottom of the seventh, sweeping the doubleheader.

Up Next: The final game of this four-game set will start at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. The expecting pitching matchup is Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.58 ERA) for the Astros and Jaime Barria (0-0, 2.63 ERA) for the Angels.

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Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

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