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The Ultimate Rise & Fall; Angels Losing Streak Extends To Six In 9-5 Heartbreaker To Houston

The Offense Finally Grabbed A Lead, But Bullpen Falters Late And The Team Suffers Extra Inning Heartbreak

MLB: Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As the losing streak dips to six games (longest of 2021), truthfully there is nowhere to go but up from here. The Angels bats showed a glimmer of hope tonight, but it was the bullpen who could not hold the fort and missed opportunities plagued the Halos offense. With tonight’s 9-5 loss in 12 innings, the Angels drop to 72-80 overall in 2021 and 24-42 in games within the AL West division.

After yielding a first inning two-run home run to Yordan Alvarez, starting pitcher Janson Junk found his groove retiring 10 consecutive batters. By utilizing his four main pitches (4-Seam Fastball, Curveball, Slider and Changeup), the outs recorded were a mix of five fly outs, four ground outs and one strikeout. He did however run into trouble in the fifth inning that would spell the end of the night for the 25-year-old rookie. The home run ball would strike again, this time off the bat of former Angel catcher Jason Castro, extending the Houston lead to 3-0. Maddon would lift the righty one batter later as Chas McCormick singled on a deflected ground ball off the mitt of Jack Mayfield.

Janson Junk Final Line: 4 IP | 4 H | 3 ER | 1 BB | 1 K | 2 HR (58 Pitches - 38 Strikes)

Astros starter Luis Garcia shut down an anemic Angels offense by allowing just three hits over six innings on the mound. This was Garcia’s ninth quality start of the season and third consecutive appearance of surrendering one or less runs.

Once Astros manager Dusty Baker turned to his relievers, the Halos offense awoke from a deep...deep slumber and actually scored runs. It started in the home half of the seventh inning with back-to-back hits from Phil Gosselin (Single) and Jared Walsh (Double), followed by Max Stassi getting hit by pitch to load the bases. Now, batting with runners in scoring position has not been a kind friend to the Halos this homestand as they sit 5-for-27 (.185) with 34 runners left on base through the first five games. As Jose Rojas came up empty by lining out for the first out of the inning, Luis Rengifo came up clutch with a single to left, scratching home the first run of the game.

Kean Wong walked with the bases loaded and inched the gap closer to just a 3-2 deficit when reliever Phil Maton was pulled from action. As Kendall Graveman entered the game, Jack Mayfield put the Angels ahead with one swing of the bat, lining a bases clearing triple down the right field line, capped off with an exuberant slide at home by Brandon Marsh to excite the fans at the Big A. This 5-3 lead was the first time since the fifth inning last Friday (46 innings) against the Oakland A’s the Angels actually played from ahead.

As Mike Mayers (5th), Jose Quijada (6th) and Jimmy Herget (7th) combined to toss three shutout innings out of the bullpen, it was Steve Cishek in the eighth who could not slam the door and keep the Angels ahead for Raisel Iglesias in the ninth. [Yordan] Alvarez would strike again, this time with his 33rd double of the year, scoring Alex Bregaman and Yuli Gurriel would tie things up 5-5 with a single into left. This was just the second time during the month of September (8 total appearances) Cishek has surrendered earned runs. To make matters worse, the side-armer came into tonight on a 5.2 scoreless innings streak.

With the game squared a five apiece and heading to extra innings, the best opportunity for the Angels to walk-off victorious was in the bottom of the 10th. After a Shohei Ohtani intentional walk and Gosselin single, the bases were loaded again, this time with zero outs. But as the phrase by country music singer Luke Combs goes: “When It Rains, It Pours”, the struggles with runners in scoring position continued to haunt the Angels. Walsh grounded into a forceout at the plate and David Fletcher, who is slumping in September with a dismal .139 batting average, flew into an inning ending double play with Ohtani being thrown out at the plate from the right fielder [Chas] McCormick.

The Astros would eventually win the game in the 12th against reliever Sam Selman with RBI hits from Jake Meyers (Single), Jose Altuve (Double) and Bregman (Sac-Fly). This loss makes finishing the regular season at or above .500 nearly impossible, which will make 2021 the fifth consecutive losing season. To put the proverbial cherry on top, the Halos are also 5-13 versus the Astros this year.

Up Next...

The Angels will look to salvage the finale of this four-game series against Houston and snap their longest losing streak of the season tomorrow night as RHP Alex Cobb (8-3, 3.59 ERA) goes to battle against RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.11 ERA).

Angels News & Notes

  • The Angels fall to 3-5 in Extra Inning games this year
  • Shohei Ohtani records his first career 4-walk game
  • Raisel Iglesias (#EXTENDRAISEL) continues to shine in the second-half with a shut down 9th inning, lowering his season ERA to 2.69 in 61 appearances
  • Prior to the game, Joe Maddon shared his thought on the state of the Angels franchise and what needs to be done moving forward this offseason: