It might have benefited the Angels more if Mike Scioscia had given the starters the afternoon off. But with a mentality of "No Rest 'Til Clinching" the lineup on Sunday hardly resembled that which had amassed a ten-game win streak. There might have been no reason to doubt making it eleven with Hector Santiago on the mound but the starting pitcher gave pause and cause for worry right out of the gate, peppering full counts and walks with strikeouts on pitches that were eminently hittable. And one finally got smashed in the second inning for a three-run homer.
But it was just one of those games. Santiago had no command to speak of and had already thrown 90 pitches after loading the bases in the third inning with nobody out. One of those days, indeed. A hot, sunny, unforgiving day. The back end of the bullpen did the win streak possibilities no favors. Cam Bedrosian allowed two runs in the fifth and Jairo Diaz gave up one in the sixth, all while Houston starter Dallas Keuchel had a perfect game going after five innings, a no-hitter intact after six and a shutout still after seven.
Santiago labored thru long innings and the silence of the Halo bats probably had as much to do with the pitching of Kuechel as standing out in the blazing sun while Hector worked amidst the confusion. Scioscia finally took out Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick after six sweaty innings and sat Mike Trout after the seven.
Other than concern about Santiago flat out forgetting how to pitch, these sorts of games happen and the team will not play another day game at home until next Sunday so the magic number staying at four is likely quite temporary.
BRIGHT SPOTS: Relievers Yoslan Herrera pitched a scoreless fourth. Vinnie Pestano relieved Santiago with the bases loaded and kept the game scoreless with two foul popoups and a strikeout. Wade LeBlanc