HOUSTON -- For most of Saturday night, Angels pitching was doing just enough to hold off the vaunted Astros offense.In the end, the bullpen and defense cost the Angels in a 10-5 loss at Minute Maid Park.The Angels were leading, 5-1, in the eighth, but they had no answers for
HOUSTON -- For most of Saturday night, Angels pitching was doing just enough to hold off the vaunted Astros offense.
In the end, the bullpen and defense cost the Angels in a 10-5 loss at Minute Maid Park.
The Angels were leading, 5-1, in the eighth, but they had no answers for the Astros' station-to-station approach, which allowed them to quickly chip away, and eventually, erase the deficit. By the time the inning was over, Houston had scored nine runs, turning what would have been a confidence-building comeback win into a deflating late-game defeat.
The Angels have now allowed double-digit runs in four straight games.
"Any time you have a lead and you lose it late, it's tough," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We have a lot of young guys out there that are going to have to experience all parts of this game. They'll bounce back tomorrow."
The fateful eighth inning contained a couple of key blows, while perhaps exposing some of the youth and inexperience of a roster that has expanded to near capacity in September.
With the bases loaded and the Angels holding a one-run lead, Tyler White sent a hard ground ball to third, but Taylor Ward, with a chance to begin an inning-ending double play, instead threw the ball into right field -- allowing the tying and go-ahead runs to score.
"It just got away from him," Scioscia said of Ward, who earlier this season transitioned into a full-time third baseman after playing exclusively as a catcher for three seasons in the Minors. "He just lost it up and away. He's got to experience a lot of things, he's playing in a big ballpark against a team that's in first place, and he'll make that play next time."
Ty Buttrey was tagged with the blown save and the loss after yielding five runs (four earned) on three hits, while not recording an out. He was on the mound when Ward made the error on White's ground ball, but he also yielded run-scoring base hits to Yuli Gurriel, Brian McCann and Evan Gattis, and he walked Josh Reddick.
Prior to this outing, Buttrey, acquired from the Red Sox in the Ian Kinsler trade, had allowed one earned run in 15 1/3 innings with the Angels this season.
"There's always stuff to reflect on when you have an outing like that," Buttrey said. "You just take the positives. I felt like I was passive with some of my stuff today, trying to maybe do too much with my changeup, maybe missing a little bit. That's how baseball goes. It's part of the process of trying to get better every single day."
George Springer's two-run single up the middle off Richard Parker put the Astros firmly in control, while Jose Altuve's 13th home run of the season capped the nine-run frame.
A half-inning earlier, the Angels had mounted a stunning comeback off Houston's bullpen. Scioscia turned to two left-handed hitters to lead off the eighth against Hector Rondon. Switch-hitting Eric Young drew a leadoff walk, and Francisco Arcia doubled him home.
Michael Trout, facing sidearmer Joe Smith, delivered a big blow with a three-run homer -- his 38th of the year -- and Andrelton Simmons put the Angels ahead by four with an RBI double.
MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Angels starter Jaime Barria has faced Houston before when his mound opponent was Justin Verlander, so he was well-aware that he was going to have to limit the Astros' offense if his team was going to have any chance to win the game.
Barria wasn't as efficient as Verlander, and his strikeout total of three paled in comparison to Verlander's 11, but the Angels righty contributed five effective innings, allowing one run on four hits in a 96-pitch outing. This was the fourth time Barria has pitched well against the Astros this season. He entered the game with an ERA of 2.81 in three prior starts.
"I have great satisfaction," Barria said through an interpreter. "Every time I go out against them, I'm trying to do my best. They are the world champions and I feel good about being able to compete."
Added Scioscia: "He's made adjustments along the way. He's got great feel on the mound. I thought he pitched well with his fastball again. I thought he kept those guys off-balance. He didn't use many changeups, but his slider was good. He definitely gave us a chance to win."
With his go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning, which traveled a projected 414 feet, according to Statcast™, Trout has homered in three consecutive games, and in five of his past six. He's now three shy of his career high of 41.
Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs (8-8, 3.69 ERA) will make his 23rd start of the season and second since returning from a third stint on the DL in the series finale against the Astros at 11:10 a.m. PT on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Skaggs, who has a career 2.96 ERA vs. the Astros, is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA against them this season. Houston counters with righty Charlie Morton (15-3, 3.15 ERA).
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.