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Heaney hurt by early homers against Astros

Angels lefty yields slam, 2-run jack in tough 3-inning start
September 21, 2018

HOUSTON -- Before Friday, Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney had essentially sailed through six previous career starts against the Astros without much drama attached. In five of those starts, Houston either managed one run or didn't score at all against him.The Astros evened things up a bit in the series opener

HOUSTON -- Before Friday, Angels left-hander Andrew Heaney had essentially sailed through six previous career starts against the Astros without much drama attached. In five of those starts, Houston either managed one run or didn't score at all against him.
The Astros evened things up a bit in the series opener on Friday night at Minute Maid Park, scoring six runs off Heaney in an 11-3 win over the struggling Angels, whose pitchers have collectively allowed 42 runs over the past three games.
Heaney, whose only prior poor outing vs. Houston was on Aug. 24, when he yielded five runs over six innings in a losing effort at home, surrendered two homers to first baseman Yuli Gurriel. The first was a grand slam that put the Astros ahead 4-0 in the opening frame, and Gurriel added a two-run jack in the third, marking his first career multi-homer game as he finished with a career-high seven RBIs.

"Andrew's stuff looked good," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think he just put a couple guys on base with walks and they got some opposite big hits from Gurriel. But I just think at the wrong times, he hung some pitches. Those guys didn't miss them."
Heaney's career ERA against the Astros rose from 1.95 to 3.15, including Friday's three-inning performance. Asked what was working against him early in the game, Heaney kept his comments brief.
"I don't know," he said. "If I knew, I would have made a better adjustment."

"He was grinding for three innings," Scioscia said. "You're talking eight baserunners in three innings, you know he was a little out of sorts. You turn the page on it."
The Angels' offense had few answers for Astros starter Gerrit Cole through the early innings. The right-hander retired eight in a row to open the game before allowing a base hit to Taylor Ward. Cole fanned a total of 12 over his seven-inning, 102-pitch performance.
The bats, though, started to break through toward the end of Cole's outing.

In the sixth, Jose Fernandez knocked a two-out double to the corner in right, and Michael Trout drove him in with his 37th home run of the year, which traveled a projected 418 feet to center, according to Statcast™. Andrelton Simmons tripled in the seventh and scored on a base hit by Francisco Arcia.
"We've seen [Cole] a number of times this year and he's got power stuff," Scioscia said. "We didn't get too many good looks at him. We got a little later, Mike caught a breaking ball for the home run. For the most part we didn't pressure him much at all.
"As they got control of that game with seven runs, he was able to just move that ball wherever he wanted. He wasn't worried about the score. He pitched a good seven innings for those guys."

SOUND SMART
Of Trout's 91 career hits against the Astros, 45 have gone for extra bases, including his home run off Cole on Friday. In total, Trout has 24 doubles, four triples and 17 home runs off Houston pitchers.
Trout now has four homers in his past five games.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Angels challenged a tag play at the plate in the eighth after Astros pinch-runner Myles Straw broke for home on a bunt by Jake Marisnick. Straw was ruled safe, but Scioscia, suspecting catcher Francisco Arcia may have snuck in a tag on the runner's hand, challenged the call. The ruling, however, stood.

UP NEXT
Angels right-hander Jaime Barria (10-9, 3.61 ERA) will make his 25th start of the season when he takes the mound against the Astros at 4:10 p.m. PT on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. In three starts vs. Houston this season, Barria is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA, allowing five earned runs over 16 innings. Ths Astros will counter with righty Justin Verlander (16-9, 2.67 ERA).

Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.