Sometimes I have compared the Astros to bullies, the type that when they have an opponent in submission they keep pounding away without mercy. On Sunday, the Angels gave the Astros a reminder of what that's like on the other end. Having built a 6-1 lead through six innings, Anaheim exploded for seven runs in the seventh on their way to a 14-5 TKO that salvaged the final game of their three-game series. After being held to one run in the first two games, the Halos released their frustrations on Lance McCullers and an ineffective bullpen to pound four homers and 15 hits.
Trout: Back in the swim
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With Seattle and Oakland both winning, the division lead shrunk back to five. The Astros now have another off-day Monday before starting a brief two-game set in Denver on Tuesday against the Rockies.
Houston took an early lead on Roger Heaney on a J.D. Davis single in the second but the Angels struck for two against McCullers in the bottom of the second and never looked back. Justin Upton belted a two-run shot the next inning and Anaheim tacked on another score in the fourth for a 5-1 advantage.
McCullers left after 4-1/3rd innings, allowing five runs on six hits. Cionel Perez gave up a sixth run then the fireworks began. Alex Bregman cracked a two-run double in the seventh but David Fletcher countered with a two-run single off Will Harris. Chris Devenski entered and gave up a three-run blast by Kole Calhoun.
Devenski then put Andrelton Simmons aboard before Mike Trout drilled a two-run homer to left for a 13-3 lead.
Davis was part of two runs scored in the eighth by Houston then, as the White Flag pitcher, gave up a solo homer to Ian Kinsler to complete the scoring.
Perhaps the off day will be spent trying to find some relief help before all the good ones on the market land elsewhere. Remember last year when the Astros were so focused on Baltimore's Zach Britton that their Plan B was to convert Francisco Liriano into a reliever? I have fingers crossed that this trade deadline won't be a repeat of the one last year.
- Bob Hulsey