The Angels bullpen struck again on Saturday, but this time the Angels rallied to overcome it. After a blown save by Hansel Robles the Angels tied things in the ninth, Michael Hermosillo delivered a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 10th inning for a 5-4 win over the Astros.
Jason Castro nearly ended this one in the ninth, with a shot off the top of the right center field wall. But his would-be two-run homer ended up an RBI double, scoring Luis Rengifo, who singled.
In the 10th, which started with Matt Thaiss on second, David Fletcher singled to put runners at the corners, and Anthony Rendon was intentionally walked with one out. Hermosillo lofted a fly ball to right field, and Josh Reddick’s throw was offline, snapping a three-game losing streak.
Robles, who allowed four runs, including a home run, in Thursday’s loss to the Mariners, entered with a 3-1 lead on Saturday. Reddick struck first with a solo home run, but that was sandwiched in between a strikeout and fly out. Garrett Stubbs singled with two outs to set up George Springer, who deposited a ball into the bullpens in left field for a 4-3 lead.
Robles has a 22.09 ERA in four appearances this season. This was his fourth career game allowing two home runs, and his first since 2017.
The Angels bullpen has allowed 21 runs in 18⅓ innings during the last four games.
Despite the blown save by Robles, the rest of the Angels relief corps was effective on Saturday. Noe Ramirez and Ryan Buchter each walked a batter in the 10th, but both notched a strikeout to leave the bases loaded.
Earlier, Felix Peña who was the relief highlight of the day.
Entering with a 2-0 lead in the seventh, Peña retired his first two batters in this one, though allowed an inherited run to score on a fly ball single by Springer. Peña’s first two outings this season came when the Angels were trailing. He set down Houston in order in the eighth.
Peña, who pitched in a starting and relief role with the Angels the previous two seasons, is one of the bright spots in the bullpen to date, with eight strikeouts and a 0.00 ERA in 5⅔ innings.
Griffin Canning was excellent, the second Angels starter to pitch into the seventh inning this year, a welcome relief for a bullpen that was used heavily the last three days.
He didn’t allow a run until that seventh inning, when Reddick led off the frame with a double, the only extra-base hit Canning allowed. His six-plus innings is the second-longest start of the season by an Angels pitcher, behind only the 6⅔ innings by Dylan Bundy last Saturday in Oakland.
Canning struck out five and walked two on the day.
Zack Greinke was brilliant in his own right for the Astros, retiring his first 16 batters faced. His bid for a perfect game was broken up with a Taylor Ward single in the sixth. Greinke was only at 60 pitches through five innings, but he wasn’t fully built up in summer camp and lasted just 3⅓ innings and 58 pitches in his first start.
That sixth inning proved fruitful for the Angels, who followed Ward’s hit with a single by Thaiss to put runners at the corners. The Halos’ two hottest hitters cashed both in, with a sacrifice fly by Fletcher and an RBI single by Brian Goodwin.
Ward tripled and scored a key insurance run in the eighth as well.
Home runs: Josh Reddick (1), George Springer (2)
WP — Ryan Buchter (2-0): ⅓ IP, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Sv — Nivaldo Rodriguez (0-1): ⅔ IP, 1 hit, 1 unearned run, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Shohei Ohtani gets the call on Sunday, making his second start of the season. Last Sunday, he retired none of his six batters faced. Josh James starts the series finale for the Astros.