ANGELS DEFEAT ASTROS

Bullpen blunders doom Astros as Angels win finale

Bullpen blunders doom Astros as Angels win finale
Angels defeat Astros, 9-7. Composite Getty Image.

Logan O'Hoppe hit a two-run homer with one out in the ninth to complete a four-hit game, and the Los Angeles Angels rallied for a 9-7 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday despite Jose Altuve tying a career high with four hits.

After Kevin Pillar got aboard with a one-out single to left, O'Hoppe hit a slider from Josh Hader (3-4) deep to left field. Trey Cabbage tried to make a play on it near the short wall, but appeared to drop it as he went halfway over the wall.

Mickey Moniak and Michael Stefanic also drove in two runs apiece as the Angels avoided a series sweep.

Carlos Estévez (1-3) retired the Astros in the ninth to get the win.

Altuve also homered and drove in three runs. It was his first four-hit game this season and 39th of his career. His two-run homer during the sixth inning gave Houston a 7-4 lead before the Angels rallied.

Alex Bregman extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI double in the third inning. He left the game in the bottom of the sixth after being hit in the left hand by Hunter Strickland's sinker in the top of the inning.

The Angels took a 4-3 lead in the fifth on Willie Calhoun's base hit that drove in Luis Rengifo. The advantage was short lived though as the Astros responded in the sixth.

Jose Abreu and Chas McCormick had RBI doubles before Altuve drove Hunter Strickland's slider into the rockpile in left-center for a two-run shot to give the Astros a three-run lead.

Moniak's base hit in the sixth drove in O'Hoppe to get the Angels within two runs before they tied it in the eighth.

Zach Neto had an RBI double, advanced to third on Ryan Pressley's wild pitch and scored on Stefanic's slow grounder to second to tie it at 7-all.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Spencer Arrighetti (3-5, 5.79 ERA) takes the mound on Monday for the start of a three-game set at San Francisco.

Angels: Open a three-game series at Arizona on Tuesday. LHP José Suarez (1-0, 6.54 ERA) will make his first start of the season.

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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