With Carlos Correa at the plate and the Astros down one in the ninth inning, he was the Astros last hope. Off a pitch by Huston Street, Correa gave it a ride, a 433 foot ride, just to the wrong part of the ballpark. While, he still reached base and gave the Astros more life, it didn't turn out the way the Astros hoped and resulted In a 4-3 loss.
Lance McCullers Jr. went out to the mound tonight trying to pickup a win -- his first in 8 outings. The struggling rookie has an ERA of 4.70 in his last 7 outings and it didn't appear it was gonna get better tonight. In the first inning, McCullers allowed 2 HR's and 3 runs in the first inning before throwing 6 shutout innings to keep the Astros squarely in the game. Although, McCullers did his part he did receive the loss, and is now 5-7 yet still holding a respectable 3.18 ERA.
After just stranding Marisnick on first base after a leadoff walk in the seventh, the Astros turned to the bullpen and Chad Qualls. Qualls faced 3 batters allowing 2 hits and a sacrifice bunt before being pulled for Joe Thatcher. Thatcher inherited 2 runners in scoring position and Kole Calhoun at the plate. Calhoun singled to left, scoring Chris Ianettea, capping off the Angels scoring on the night. While the Angels didn't score, it wasn't smooth sailing, Pat Neshek came in and hit Mike Trout loading the bases for Astros assassin Albert Pujols with one out. Neshek managed to send Pujols back to the bench, swinging, and got David Murphy to pop out in foul territory to end the eight.
The bullpen doesn't receive the loss but the recent despair of their success has hurt the Astros. Whether it was letting a close game get blown open or losing the lead, or tie, needs to stop for any success in October. another part of the Astros game that needs to see improvement, quick, is hitting with men on base and in scoring position. The Astros margin of defeat tonight was easily reachable, especially with all the chances. The Astros players left 23 on base and the Astros as a team left 11 on. The Astros also were 0-8 with RISP. The Astros have to feel confident that the guys are getting on but have a completely opposite feeling about what they're doing when they are on. Just remember, Astros: You can only play with fire so much before you get burned. And that they've done.
The Astros, who are 2 1/2 games up on the Angels, will send out Mike Fiers (7-10, 3.64 ERA) to extinguish the Angels chance at a road series win. Fiers, who has pitched well at MMP this season, has faced the Angels once going 7 innings allowing 3 runs and 6 hits in a no decision.
The Angels will send out Nick Tropeano (2-2, 5.06 ERA) to face the Astros tomorrow. Tropeano was sent to the Angels in exchange for catcher Hank Conger. Tropeano will face the team that dealt him for the first time tomorrow.