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Astros waste great start by Harrell, lose 3-1 to Angels

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The Astros get seven solid innings from Lucas Harrell, but the Angels complete the sweep. The Halos get two runs in the eighth with the help of more bad shortstop play from Houston.

Bob Levey

Lucas Harrell bounced back from an awful performance against the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday with seven innings of one-run ball on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't enough as the Astros bullpen, namely Jose Cisnero, let this one get away.

One of the runs was earned to Cisnero in the eighth as he allowed Howie Kendrick to single before Josh Hamilton doubled off the base of the wall in left-center field. Astros center fielder Brandon Barnes got to it quickly, but the relay throw by shortstop Jake Elmore was about 1,000 feet (or 20) to the right of catcher Carlos Corporan. The throw was so bad that Cisnero, who was backing up on the play, was nowhere close to it either, allowing Hamilton to round third and score for the little kid version of a home run.

The Astros got their only run also on a bonehead play in the sixth. Angels third baseman Alberto Callaspo, who caught a Jose Altuve liner with runners on first and third, tried to double up the runner on first but threw wildly, allowing Brandon Barnes (2-for-3, and another pretty catch in CF) to score. The Astros struggled mightily otherwise against C.J. Wilson as they struck out ten times against the lefty in seven innings.

Harrell's only mistake came on a opposite field home run to Mark Trumbo in the fourth - lowering his ERA to 4.59 on the year.

The Angels have been rightfully criticized for their struggles against the Astros this year, but this sweep gives them six wins in a row and serious momentum for the first time all season. Meanwhile, it seems the Astros streak of good play could be coming to an end as they have lost seven of ten and have the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers on tap for this week.