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OC Register: Angels’ Andrew Heaney outdueled in first outing since loss of Tyler Skaggs

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HOUSTON — The first pitch Andrew Heaney threw in the Angels’ 4-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday was a slow, looping curve ball that floated to the plate.

It was called a ball, but it achieved its purpose.

Heaney, who was pitching for the first time since the death of Tyler Skaggs, was clearly paying tribute to his friend, a curve ball specialist.

It was the first of 85 pitches that Heaney threw on a night that was certainly filled with emotion. Heaney was mostly effective, allowing two runs in five innings.

He walked off the mound for the last time with a two-run deficit, though, because Astros All-Star Gerrit Cole had a dominant performance against the Angels.

The Angels managed only three hits in seven innings against Cole, striking out nine times. Three of Cole’s strikeouts came on fastballs that cracked 100 mph, including a 101.1-mph fastball on his 110th and final pitch.

Heaney, who has had trouble finding consistency this season, set down the Astros in the first three innings on 40 pitches. The only hit he’d allowed was a bunt single by José Altuve.

In the fourth, Alex Bregman and Yordan Álvarez each drilled ground balls through the infield for singles to start the inning. Heaney was an out away from escaping the inning when Josh Reddick dropped a single into right field, knocking in Bregman.

An inning later, Heaney issued a one-out walk to George Springer and then Bregman lofted a high fly off the short fence in left field, for an RBI double.

The Astros doubled their lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh against Trevor Cahill.

The Angels had a chance to get back in the game in the eighth, when they loaded the bases with one out. Shohei Ohtani hit a popout and Kole Calhoun struck out.

More to come on this story.

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