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OC Register: Angels waste early opportunities and get blown out late in loss to Astros

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HOUSTON — By the time the Angels’ 11-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Sunday was over, it had become so lopsided that it was easy to forget how well Jaime Barria had pitched or how much a timely hit or two by the Angels early could have changed the game.

Instead, it ended up as an embarrassing loss, the third straight against the Astros and sixth in seven games on this two-city trip through Texas.

Barría held the Astros to two runs in 5-1/3 innings, but came out of the game trailing 2-1 because the Angels couldn’t convert their opportunities against left-hander Framber Valdez.

Valdez walked two of the game’s first three hitters, but then Justin Upton hit into a double play. In the third, the Angels loaded the bases with no outs, but Shohei Ohtani and Upton both struck out and Albert Pujols hit a tapper in front of the mound.

After that, the Angels didn’t even get a runner into scoring position over Valdez’s final three innings.

The Angels were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in Friday’s one-run loss, and they left the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings on Saturday, losing by three.

The hitters did little to support Barría on a day that he fared well against Houston’s tough lineup.

Barría allowed a double to José Altuve to lead off the game, followed by a walk to Michael Brantley, but he minimized the damage and allowed just one run.

In the fourth, right fielder Brian Goodwin helped him out by making a perfect throw from the corner to nail Yuli Gurriel at second on a would-be double.

Barría retired six of the final seven hitters he faced before he was pulled at 90 pitches, in the sixth inning. It was the first time since April 16 that Barría had started a game and made it into the sixth inning.

Barría has a 2.39 ERA in 26-1/3 innings against the Astros in five career starts.

The game was still 2-1 at the seventh-inning stretch, but then Martín Maldonado hit a two-run homer against Ty Buttrey and the Astros blew the game open with seven runs against Taylor Cole in the eighth.

Cole has allowed 33 runs this season, and 20 of them have come in three innings over four outings.

More to come on this story.

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