Angels 2 Astros 3
Coming into tonight’s game, you could almost see the spectres of Hector Santiago’s last start looming over him; he was a pitcher who has shown his fiery emotional side lately, in both good and bad ways. Before his last start, it was more in a “get rocked early”kind of way. Tonight, all the pressure would be back on him to keep the Astros at bay while the Angels mustered up whatever runs they could.
So what did Hector Santiago do? He went out and showcased some potent and economical pitching, giving his team an excellent outing and a great shot at winning the game. This was the Hector we were seeing just weeks ago, the dominant Hector. And between tonight and his last start, that dominant Hector may be back.
Santiago’s night ended in the seventh, as he finally got into a tiny bit of trouble with a runner in scoring position, but before that, he was straight up cruising. He would finish the night with 6.1 innings pitched, giving up just three hits and one run (Carlos Correa solo home run). He also struck out four along the way, while walking two. That’s a start that I’ll take from a rotation piece any day of the week.
Of course, the team still has to score. While Santiago was out there only allowing one run, the Angels could only get a couple on the board off of Houston’s pitching. While Hector was looking studly, so was Collin McHugh for the Astros, but the Angels got two runs off of him: A Mike Trout single in the first and a mammoth C.J. Cron solo bomb in the fourth. This thing was smoked by Cron, going 467 friggin’ feet. Dang.
So, back to the seventh inning, Angels up 2-1, when Hector was pulled after 80 pitches, mainly because he had a guy in scoring position and Mike Scioscia didn’t like who was coming up. Santiago did his job extremely well, of course, and now it was up to the ‘pen to do theirs. This is it, don’t get scared now.
Cam Bedrosian came in for Santiago, and with two outs and guys on first and second, he had to face Colby Rasmus, who is one of Houston’s best clutch hitters. Bedrosian rose to the occasion, striking out Rasmus with some serious, swing-inducing heat, and the Angels were out of the seventh inning jam.
It was an exciting moment, but would be outdone in the bottom of the eighth. Fernando Salas was no in the game, and with a man on first, one out, we saw Johnny Giavotella and Andrelton Simmons team up for one of the prettiest double plays I’ve seen this season. Giavotella laid out on the dirt to stop a ground ball past second, then he glove-flipped it to Simmons who barehanded the catch, hurdling the incoming runner, and firing to first for the out, all in one smooth motion. That’s art.
The Angels were holding on to that 2-1 lead like it was the mechanical bull at Gilley’s and they’re trying to impress Debra Winger. They’d have to, because the bats were still being subdued by Houston. They even wasted a leadoff Mike Trout triple at one point, so 2-1 we went into the bottom of the ninth, the ball and the win in Huston Street’s hands.
Street’s night didn’t start all that well, as he walked the first batter, George Springer. Although it wasn’t a walk, it should have been a strikeout, but the ump missed a big one that was obviously in the strikezone. Springer then stole second, to make things even more chaotic. Then, Street walked another batter, followed by a hard hit grounder from Jose Altuve that was misplayed by Yunel Escobar. Bases loaded, no outs, and this game had gone from “Nice” to “f****** buttercup” in the blink of an eye.
Street was facing down Carlos Correa, and with one sweet swing, Correa shot the ball into the right-center power alley. Walk off Buttercupping, throwing Hector Santiago’s continued bounce-back win down the drain; once again, Huston Street is the Buttercup Top Chef champion, serving up not only the biggest, but also the most frustrating and soul-sucking Buttercups ever made by man.
No win tonight. Just Buttercups.