MONTERREY, Mexico -- Albert Pujols connected on a solo homer in the sixth inning and is one RBI away from reaching 2,000 in his career, but it was one of the only bright spots for the Angels in a 14-2 loss to the Astros in the first game of the Mexico Series on Saturday in front of 18,117 fans at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey.
Pujols is set to join rare company when he reaches 2,000 RBIs, as the only Major Leaguers to reach that total are Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,213) and Alex Rodriguez (2,086), although the Elias Sports Bureau only credits Ruth with 1,992 RBIs as Elias doesn't count RBIs from before 1920, when it became an official statistic.
"2,000 RBIs, I mean, wow, it’s pretty incredible," said center fielder Mike Trout. "Just looking back at some of the years he had in St. Louis, it’s incredible. Just knowing he put up those numbers consistently throughout all those years, it’s just so impressive."
Cahill, Stratton hit hard
The Angels were hopeful that with some extra rest, Cahill would bounce back after a run of rough outings, but Cahill struggled again, allowing six runs over 3 1/3 innings. Stratton fared even worse in relief, surrendering eight runs in four-plus innings.
Cahill, pitching for the first time since April 25, continued his issues with allowing homers, as he gave up three more, bringing his total to 12 allowed in 33 2/3 innings this year. Last season, Cahill allowed eight homers in 110 innings, and Cahill’s current home run rate is more than double his career average.
“We really need to kind of dive into why he’s giving up so many home runs, why the ball is in the air as often as it is,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. “I can’t really give you an answer right now. It’s definitely something we’re looking deeply into.”
“I don't know if my sinker's not moving as much or whatever,” Cahill said. “It seems like when I throw a good one they just kind of foul it off. Eventually, you're going to make a mistake. I feel like they're just not missing the mistakes I make.”
He was hurt by another homer in the third, when Michael Brantley connected on an opposite-field shot that just cleared the fence down the left-field line. Gurriel connected on a no-doubt solo shot in the fourth and Cahill was removed two batters later after issuing a walk to Tyler White and a single to Max Stassi.
Cahill put the Angels in a 6-0 hole and saw his ERA rise to 6.95 on the year. Cahill, signed to a one-year deal worth $9 million this offseason, hasn't turned in a quality start since April 8 and has a 10.92 ERA over his last four outings.
"I feel kind of out of whack,” Cahill said. “Today more so than the last one. Just kind of felt like it's been such a fine line. When I throw my sinker away especially, it's like I either yank it or, if I stay behind it long enough, it kind of runs back middle.”
Trout’s on-base streak ends
Trout went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, which ended his streak of reaching base safely in 29 straight games to open the season, which set a club record. Trout fouled a ball off his shin in the fifth inning but remained in the game and hit a hard liner off Miley’s left shoulder before being thrown out by Bregman on the play. Trout struck out in his next at-bat in the seventh.
He was removed in the eighth inning, however, replaced in center field by Peter Bourjos with the game already well in hand for the Astros. The Angels are being cautious with Trout, as the stadium in Monterrey has artificial turf.
“Trout is fine,” Ausmus said. “It was the lopsided score.”