Houston drops the middle game

Angels get best of Garcia, Astros to even series

Despite Yordan Alvarez reaching base four times, Houston's offense couldn't get it done against the Angels on Saturday. Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

After outslugging the Angels in Friday's opener to start the series with a win, the opportunity stood in front of the Astros again to secure a series victory and set up a potential sweep. The Angels would prevent that, though, by outplaying Houston on Saturday night.

Final Score: Angels 4, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 82-59, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (7-7)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (10-7)

Garcia gives up four over five

For the third time in his last five starts, Luis Garcia would allow three or more earned runs while not making it through six innings. The Angels tagged him in the top of the first, getting two runs on three hits, including a one-out RBI double followed by an RBI groundout, putting them ahead 2-0.

After erasing a one-out single in the second, a leadoff single in the top of the third would turn into a one-out two-run homer, doubling Los Angeles' lead to 4-0. Garcia would finish that frame, then posted a 1-2-3 fourth and erased a leadoff walk in the fifth to end his night. His final line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 82 P.

Astros drop the middle game

Houston trimmed the lead to three runs in the bottom of the fourth, getting a one-out single by Jose Siri, who stole second before the Astros would load the bases with one out. Yuli Gurriel scored Siri with an RBI fielder's choice, but the Angels limited the damage there, keeping it 4-1.

Brandon Bielak took over for Luis Garcia in the top of the sixth, stranding two runners to keep it a three-run game. He returned in the top of the seventh, posting a 1-2-3 frame, and kept going in the top of the eighth with another scoreless inning as the score remained 4-1.

After a scoreless top of the ninth by Blake Taylor, Houston started a rally in the bottom half, getting a single and a walk to set up an RBI double by Garrett Stubbs to cut the lead to two runs. That left the tying run on second with one out. The rally would come up short, with both runners ending the night stranded as the Angels would finish the win to set up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The finale of this series will be a 1:10 PM Central start on Sunday. Jaime Barria (2-3, 5.16 ERA) will take the mound for Los Angeles, while Houston will hand the ball to Lance McCullers Jr. (11-4, 3.19 ERA).

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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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