Houston comes up short of the sweep

Astros drop finale to Angels as magic number stays put

Lance McCullers Jr. allowed some costly walks to the Angels on Thursday. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After blowing past the Angels in extra innings on Wednesday, the Astros tried to wrap up a series sweep with a win in the finale in Anaheim on Thursday. A much quieter night at the plate by their bats prevented that, though, as Los Angeles would salvage a game to send Houston out of town wearing a loss.

Final Score: Angels 3, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 91-62, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Austin Warren (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (12-5)

Angels take advantage of walks by McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers had dominant starts to their nights, with both lineups getting retired in order as no one would reach base in the first three innings of the finale. Houston got the first hit and runner in the top of the fourth and even loaded the bases but came away empty-handed as the game remained scoreless. Los Angeles also got in the hit column in the bottom of the inning against Lance McCullers Jr., getting a leadoff single that would come around to score later on a sac fly to make it a 1-0 Angels lead.

McCullers Jr. rebounded by erasing a leadoff walk in the fifth, and in the top of the sixth, his offense tied things up with an RBI single by Carlos Correa. Houston's starter put himself back on the hook in the bottom of the inning, though, as two walks would set up a two-RBI double by former Astro Jack Mayfield, putting LA back in front 3-1. McCullers Jr. would finish the inning, but that would be it for him: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 101 P.

Astros drop the finale

Fresh off the paternity list, Ryne Stanek took over out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the seventh. He faced four batters, getting two outs while putting two on via a walk and a single, prompting a change to Blake Taylor, who would finish the inning to keep it a two-run game. Houston worked a walk in the top of the eighth but would strand it as they remained behind 3-1.

Seth Martinez was the next reliever for the Astros, coming in to try and keep the score put in the bottom of the eighth, and he did so by erasing a one-out double. Houston would get within a run in the top of the ninth, courtesy of a pinch-hit solo homer by Jason Castro with two outs, but would get stopped there as the Angels would take the finale. The loss keeps Houston's magic number stuck in place as they turn the page to the next leg of their trip.

Up Next: The Astros will continue this road trip on Friday, picking up in Oakland with the opener of a pivotal three-game series at 8:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup in the first game will be Frankie Montas (12-9, 3.57 ERA) for the A's going opposite of Zack Greinke (11-6, 4.11 ERA) for Houston.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
Jose Altuve is expected to miss significant time. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch during Saturday's WBC game between Venezuela and the USA, which put a scare into Astros fans, and caused him to exit the game.

Now we're hearing Altuve with have to miss some time and won't be ready to start the season.

Bob Nightengale is reporting that the pitch broke Altuve's right thumb and he is expected to miss 8–10 weeks.

The Astros have not given an official update on the specifics of the injury.

Editor's note: The Astros have now given an update on Altuve's injury. He has a fractured thumb and will have surgery soon.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome