Angels hammer Astros 12-6
Bullpen meltdown spoils comeback effort

Eric Young Jr. admires home run
(c) Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim enjoyed an extended batting practice session against a tired Astros pitching staff during a 12-6 win at Minute Maid Park Sunday afternoon. Houston starter David Paulino was the first victim, giving up five runs in four innings including a first inning homer by Albert Pujols.

The Astros offense actually kept it interesting for awhile, overcoming an early 3-0 deficit to take a 6-3 lead after four innings. George Springer launched a 2-run homer in the third, extending Houston's home run streak to a club record 19 straight games. Yuli Gurriel tied the score at three with a solo shot in the fourth and the Astros added two more runs later in the frame.

But the fun came to an abrupt end in the top of the fifth. After the first two batters reached base against Paulino, Michael Feliz came in from the bullpen and was unsuccessful in his efforts to limit the damage. Feliz struck out Pujols before surrendering an RBI single to our old pal Luis Valbuena, walking Martin Maldonado, and serving up a 3-run homer to Eric Young Jr.

Despite hitting a number of line drives over the next few innings, the Astros were unable to mount another comeback. The Angels added three more runs against an exhausted Houston bullpen to claim a series victory and ensure a happy flight back to California.

On the bright side, the Astros still own the best record in the league and a 12-game lead in the division standings.

The homestand continues for the Astros Monday night at 7:10 with Joe Musgrove scheduled to come off the disabled list to oppose Yu Darvish and the Rangers. Musgrove last pitched on May 26th when he threw seven shutout innings before coming down with shoulder soreness.

On a side note, Houston's Norichika Aoki enjoyed a 3-hit game to surpass the 2,000 hit plateau including the 1285 hits he accumulated in his native Japan. Japanese media was in full force to cover Aoki's milestone that put him in truly select company.

- Greg Thurston