HOUSTON -- On the first, Evan Gattis extended his arms and lofted an outside-corner curveball just over the left-field scoreboard that sits 315 feet away from home plate. On the second, the Astros' catcher spun his hips on a changeup that hung out over the heart of the plate and
HOUSTON -- On the first, Evan Gattis extended his arms and lofted an outside-corner curveball just over the left-field scoreboard that sits 315 feet away from home plate. On the second, the Astros' catcher spun his hips on a changeup that hung out over the heart of the plate and drilled it 420 feet away.
"He hit one that could've been an out at a lot of different parks," Gattis' victim, Jered Weaver, said. "Then he hit one that is a home run in every park."
With that, the Angels lost, 7-2, on a Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, suffering their 10th consecutive defeat against the division-rival Astros, the surging young team that is now a Major League-best 36-16 since May 23.
You have to go all the way back to 1980 to find a longer losing streak against a single team in Angels history.
They've also suffered 10 consecutive losses to the Red Sox, White Sox, Indians and A's. Beyond that, there was an 11-game losing streak against the Tigers and a 12-game losing streak against the Orioles, both of which stretched from 1979-80, with the latter season ending in 95 losses. In 1975, the Angels lost 12 in a row to the Royals.
Their last win against the Astros, 10 games better in the standings, occurred on May 27.
"Well," Weaver said, "they're not the only team that we've lost to. It's been a frustrating season as far as that goes. Obviously you don't want to go down like that to division teams, but I don't really have an answer for you of why. They've put together a pretty good lineup and a pretty good team. Their pitchers have thrown pretty well against us. And their lineup, I think, has become a little bit more patient than years prior."
Weaver knew he was off as soon as the game began, when he issued a four-pitch walk to the leadoff hitter, George Springer.
The 33-year-old right-hander had given up only two runs over a 13-inning stretch in his first two starts in July. In his last one, Weaver's four-seam fastball averaged a season-high 85.71 mph. He was starting to believe in some upside. Then he yielded six runs on seven hits and three walks over the course of only four innings.
Weaver said his command "was not how it had been. Everything was up."
He has a 6.59 ERA in his last five starts in the small, hitter-friendly ballpark that resides in the middle of downtown Houston, and it's easy to see why.
"It's no secret that I need a big park to pitch my game," said Weaver, a fly-ball pitcher in the truest sense. "It's been the story of my career, really."
Weaver was later asked about his struggles against the Astros in general, specifically the fact that he has allowed 12 runs on 14 hits and seven walks over his last two starts, which covers only 9 1/3 innings.
"Obviously I don't have the same [stuff] that I used to," Weaver said. "That's first and foremost."
Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.