The 'Stros offense never took flight as Richards showed stellar command of his curveball, slider, and fastball, which topped 95 MPH throughout the night. (Through his first 34 pitches, for instance, Richards had thrown 30 strikes.) Houston batters collected only four hits off the 26-year-old, including just one extra base hit, a first inning double by Dexter Fowler. Perhaps even more tellingly, the lineup failed to draw a walk against Richards, who finished the night with nine strikeouts, lowering his season ERA to 3.25.
If there was a bright spot for Houston, though, it was Jarred Cosart. The young starter battled through 6.2 innings while allowing three runs, few enough to keep Houston within striking distance. Though he allowed some costly RBI singles with two outs in the sixth, Cosart surrendered only one walk over 108 pitches, a notable feat given his previous control issues. Moreover, the 24-year-old struck out eight Angels on the night. Astros fans should reasonably hope that Cosart's performance will portend more success.
Regarding the Angels' offense, all of its RBIs came with two outs. Especially frustrating for the 'Stros, seven of Los Angeles's nine hits were singles. C.J. Cron, Howie Kendrick, David Freese, and Erick Aybar each delivered a two-out knock to drive in a run.
For Houston, there was no offense to celebrate. The team squandered Fowler's leadoff double in the first, failing to get another runner on base in the inning. Only in the fifth would the Astros bat again with a man in scoring position, but the runner, Alex Presley, was stranded on a Fowler groundout. Only two Astros reached base afterward.
Houston will look to reverse its fortunes in the series's rubber game tomorrow evening. Brad Peacock will take the mound against Angels lefty Tyler Skaggs.
UPDATE: Per a short piece in the Houston Chronicle, Jarred Cosart appeared to have a foreign substance on the brim of his cap during Wednesday's start, a substance that he reportedly reached for several times. More news should appear soon on chron.com or other outlets.