The Astros put together a 5-1 lead during the first half of Saturday night's game in Anaheim with Brad Peacock looking strong over six innings of work, allowing just three hits and striking out eight. But the bullpen of Francisco Liriano, Francis Martes and Tyler Clippard were struck for six runs in the final two stanzas to drop a 7-6 decision to the Angels.
Angels celebrate as McCann looks on
(c) Associated Press
The only run off Peacock was a solo homer by Kole Calhoun who seems to hit us better than he does the rest of the league. He was 3-4 on Saturday and he wasn't done.
By then, the Astros had put four runs on the board with Josh Reddick's two-run single in the first, a run on Luis Valbuena's error and a balk by Tyler Skaggs plating the four tallies. A solo shot by Jake Marisnick in the fourth, extended the lead to four.
George Springer blasted a homer to left in the seventh before the roof caved in (sorry if that's too soon for you folks on the coast). Liriano gave up a single to Calhoun and a double to Andrelton Simmons who both scored on ground outs as Martes entered to quiet the rally.
In the eighth, however, Martes got the first two outs before Mike Trout worked a walk. Albert Pujols singled Trout over to third.
That's when Clippard came in to relieve Martes. Calhoun delivered a base hit that plated Trout then Simmons unloaded a three-run homer to left that gave Anaheim the lead. Blake Parker had a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Jose Altuve was back in the lineup but was hitless in four trips. Springer's homer was his 29th of the season. The next will put him in rare company as only a handful of Astros have belted 30 or more homers in a season.
Off the field, the Astros have dismissed Quentin McCracken, the Director of Player Personnel who has overseen a largely successful farm system. It would seem to make more sense to dismiss the fellow that swung deals for Liriano and Clippard, but that's just me.
The rubber game of the match will be Sunday's 2:37 Central duel at the Big A. Charlie Morton (10-6) will try to take the series for Houston while Ricky Nolasco (6-12) will try to prevent it. The Astros are just 7-5 against Anaheim so far and have allowed more runs to them than they have scored themselves (46-48).
- Bob Hulsey