Houston's four-game streak is snapped

Astros held to one run as Angels salvage a game in series finale

Lance McCullers Jr. received his first road loss of the season on Sunday in the finale against the Angels. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Winners of their last four games, and having already secured the victory in this three-game series by winning the first two matchups, the Astros looked to keep their momentum going into Sunday's finale. Instead, the Angels grabbed momentum to hold Houston's offense at bay to salvage a win in the series.

Final Score: Angels 3, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 70-47, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Reid Detmers (1-2)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (9-4)

McCullers Jr. gets his first road loss of 2021

Lance McCullers Jr. dealt with some high-stress situations early in his start. He worked around a single in the first, but in the bottom of the second would load the bases on a single, walk, and hit batter. He got out of it in a big way, striking out MVP hopeful Shohei Ohtani to end the inning and get out of the jam.

After Michael Brantley gave him a lead with a solo homer in the top of the inning to go ahead 1-0, McCullers Jr. rebounded with a 1-2-3 third inning, then did the same in the fourth. LA would get on the board against him in the fifth, getting back-to-back one-out singles to get a runner to third to set up an RBI groundout to tie the game. They pressured him again in the bottom of the sixth, getting a leadoff double and a one-out bunt single to set up another RBI groundout, this one to take a 2-1 lead and end McCullers Jr.'s day and send him on the way to his first road loss of the year. His final line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 108 P.

Houston drops the finale

After Ryne Stanek came in to get the final out of the sixth, Cristian Javier took over out of the bullpen in the 2-1 game in the bottom of the seventh. He got through that frame without trouble, but after returning in the bottom of the eighth, he would watch a one-out homer fly out to extend the Angels' lead to 3-1 before he finished the inning. That score would go final as Houston's offense would get held to just the lone run off of the bat of Brantley back in the third inning. The loss snapped Houston's four-game streak and prevented them from getting the series sweep as they head out to their next destination.

Up Next: With this series in the books, Houston will travel to Kansas City for the next part of this road trip. They'll kick off a four-game set with the Royals on Monday at 7:10 PM Central, with an anticipated pitching matchup of Jake Odorizzi (5-6, 4.59 ERA) for Houston and Carlos Hernandez (3-1, 4.11 ERA) for Kansas City.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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