ANAHEIM -- The good news for the Astros is their battered pitching staff will have an off-day to recuperate before opening the next series Tuesday in Colorado.The Angels dealt the defending champions their worst loss of the season Sunday afternoon, getting homers from Justin Upton, Kole Calhoun, Michael Trout and
ANAHEIM -- The good news for the Astros is their battered pitching staff will have an off-day to recuperate before opening the next series Tuesday in Colorado.
The Angels dealt the defending champions their worst loss of the season Sunday afternoon, getting homers from Justin Upton, Kole Calhoun, Michael Trout and Ian Kinsler to bash the Astros, 14-5, in the series finale at Angel Stadium.
"We weren't at our best today," said Astros manager AJ Hinch, whose team walked eight batters. "A few walks brought damage -- just an ugly day."
Astros starter Lance McCullers (10-5) allowed five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He's allowed five walks in consecutive games for the first time in his career and has given up 11 earned runs in his last two starts after allowing only four in his previous three starts.
"When you get put behind pretty much because of my inability to execute pitches and big swings of the bat, it puts us in a tough spot early," McCullers said. "It put me in a tough spot early, and from that point I was kind of grinding and wasn't going to be able to get in a groove. I was kind of in survival mode. I felt good and the ball was coming out of my hand real well, but I have to tighten up fastball execution."
A steady stream of Astros relievers didn't fare much better on the mound, culminating with Hinch calling upon infielder J.D. Davis to work the eighth. He gave up a homer to Kinsler. It's the most runs the Astros have allowed since July 29, 2016 at Detroit.
"[McCullers] created a little bit of the mess and really just a couple of pitches -- the homer to Upton being one -- and ill-advised walk to [Shohei Ohtani in the second]," Hinch said. "There's always a walk involved, and it seemed like today we couldn't get the game to really flip back in our favor."
Alex Bregman's two-run double in the seventh gave the Astros' life, cutting the lead to 6-3, before the Angels erupted for seven runs against relievers Will Harris and Chris Devenski in the bottom of the inning to take a 13-3 lead.
Angels starter Andrew Heaney (6-6) held the punchless Astros to one run and four hits in six innings, sending down 14 of the final 17 batters he faced following an RBI single by Davis in the second inning that gave Houston a 1-0 lead.
Upton hit a 434-foot homer off McCullers in the third to give the Angels a 4-1 lead. In the seventh, Devenski gave up a three-run homer to Calhoun and a two-run shot to Trout, both on changeups.
"Calhoun and Trout both hit semi-executable pitches, but hit the ball out of the ballpark," Hinch said. "They either saw something on him or they looked for the right pitch at the right time. We didn't control damage today. They hit quite a few balls in quite a few areas we don't have fielders."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Davis, who pitched some in college at Cal State Fullerton, became the first Astros position player to pitch in a game this season when he worked the eighth. Davis, who made two relief appearances for Houston last year, needed nine pitches to get three outs around the homer he allowed to Kinsler. His fastest pitch was 92.4 mph, according to Statcast™.
"Just throw a strike, throw it out over the plate," Davis said. "Don't throw it in. Don't try to make the inning prolong itself, but do your part and throw strikes and try to get people out."
The last time the Astros allowed more than 10 runs in a game was a 13-12 win over the Dodgers in Game 5 of last year's World Series.
HE SAID IT
"He's our version of the dual threat." -- Hinch, on Davis
Gerrit Cole (10-2, 2.52 ERA) starts for the Astros when they face the Rockies on Tuesday at 7:40 p.m. CT at Coors Field. The All-Star set a club record for the most strikeouts prior to the All-Star break by whiffing 177 in 128 1/3 innings in 20 starts. Lefty Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.72) starts for the Rockies in the opener of a two-game set.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.