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Astros walk over Angels in a record-setting slog

Astros walk over Angels in a record-setting slog

ANAHEIM – Matt Andriese slammed his glove to the bench in the second inning Friday, his first start of the season over much earlier than he had hoped. He couldn’t find the strike zone. At least he wasn’t alone.

The Angels and Houston Astros combined for 19 walks in a nine-inning game that lasted four hours and 21 minutes, an Angel Stadium record. The Angels batted 18 times with runners in scoring position, but collected only three hits and lost 9-6.

Andriese, the first of nine Angels pitchers, walked three batters in 1 2/3 innings. Home plate umpire Cory Blaser was even stingier to the Astros, who issued 12 walks to the Angels’ 7. Yet only two of the Angels’ free passes resulted in runs.

  • Los Angeles Angels catcher Jason Castro, left, catches a ball that was fouled off the ground by Houston Astros’ Martin Maldonado, upper right, as home plate umpire Cory Blaser watches during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. Houston Astros’ Myles Straw advanced to second on the play. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels third baseman Anthony Rendon catches a ground ball hit by Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve was thrown out at second on the play to end the half inning. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Los Angeles Angels’ Brian Goodwin, second from left, is congratulated by David Fletcher, left, as Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, right, stands by and home plate umpire Cory Blaser wipes the plate after Goodwin hit a two-run home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • George Springer #4 of the Houston Astros is unable to hold onto the ball while attempting to catch a two-run homerun hit by Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels during the fourth inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Houston Astros’ Kyle Tucker, right, scores on a sacrifice fly by George Springer as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jason Castro takes a late throw during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels right fielder David Fletcher can’t handle a ball hit by Houston Astros’ Yuli Gurriel during the seventh inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Michael Hermosillo #21 of the Los Angeles Angels catches a fly out hit by Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros during the first inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani, right, runs to first as he grounds out while Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, center, and home plate umpire Cory Blaser watch during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • David Fletcher #22 congratulates Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels after his two-run homerun as Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros looks on during the fourth inning of a game against against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, left, takes starting pitcher Matt Andriese out of the game during the second inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels rounds third base after hitting a two-run hjomerun during the fourth inning of a game against against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Shohei Ohtani adjusts his gloves during an at-bat din the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Kyle Tucker #30 of the Houston Astros steals second base as Luis Rengifo #4 of the Los Angeles Angels applys the tag during the fourth inning of a game at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Matt Andriese throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Houston Astros’ Kyle Tucker, center, scores on a sacrifice fly by George Springer as Los Angeles Angels catcher Jason Castro, right, takes a late throw and home plate umpire Cory Blaser watches during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, July 31, 2020, in Anaheim, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Keynan Middleton #99 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches during the ninth inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Brian Goodwin #18 of the Los Angeles Angels is congratulated at the dugout after his two-run homerun during the fourth inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Cam Bedrosian #32 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches during the second inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

  • Matt Andriese #35 of the Los Angeles Angels pitches during the first inning of a game against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 31, 2020 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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Houston, meanwhile, took advantage of nearly every physical and mental error it was given.

In the seventh inning, Michael Brantley reached base when Luis Rengifo couldn’t field a ground ball cleanly in shallow right field. It was scored a one-base error. The next batter, Yuli Gurriel, hit a fly ball to shallow right field that glanced off David Fletcher’s glove as he charged in. Both runners scored on a Kyle Tucker single, and the Astros extended their lead to 8-6. Those runs proved to be the difference in the game.

Angel pitchers also hit two batters, and second baseman Tommy La Stella misfired a routine throw wide of first base, though these miscues did not result in any runs.

Brian Goodwin’s two-run home run off Lance McCullers Jr. highlighted his 2-for-3, three-RBI performance. Fletcher went 2 for 3 with a double.

Cam Bedrosian, Keynan Middleton, Ryan Buchter, Noe Ramirez, Mike Mayers, Hoby Milner, Kyle Keller and Jacob Barnes allowed only three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings of relief.

“It’s hard to piece together that many guys and hold the other team in check,” Maddon said. “Normally something is going to occur.”

The Angels struggled throughout the 2019 season to extend their starting pitchers deep into games. Over the winter they added Andriese, Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran to a rotation that used 19 different pitchers last season. Teheran has yet to pitch as he recovers from COVID-19. Andriese, a swingman for most of his five-year career, was hoping to be part of the solution.

“My stuff was working,” he said. “I didn’t have that one pitch that was really going to get me out of that (second) inning and allow me to go deeper into the game.”

Besides the absence of star center fielder Mike Trout, who is on paternity leave, Maddon attributed the Angels’ sloppy play to the unusual 2020 calendar. Players were expected to report to an abbreviated summer camp when the calendar turned to July. That was a month ago. Now is the equivalent of mid-March in a typical spring training.

Andriese admitted that Friday didn’t feel like July 31 – the date of MLB’s trade deadline in a traditional season.

“It’s definitely different,” he said. “Being that it’s a short season, you can’t feel your way through outings. You’ve really just got to hit it hard from the get-go and treat it hard like it’s mid-season. Command-wise, all of us are struggling just a bit.”

The Astros augmented their seven walks with 12 hits, including three doubles. Tucker finished 3 for 5 with four RBIs. George Springer and Jose Altuve drove in two runs apiece. Houston went 5 for 16 with runners in scoring position as a team.

For the Angels, time is of the essence. Eight days into the season, the Angels are already three games out of first place in the American League West. In theory, that’s a surmountable deficit, but a 60-game season is uncharted territory for everyone.

“I want to believe it’s going to turn and come back to us,” Maddon said. “It was actually really good energy in the dugout. It was great right up until the last out. We’re constantly fighting from behind, and that makes it difficult. We have to grab a lead and hold onto it.”


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