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OC Register: Angels come up short in series opener against Astros

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HOUSTON — The Angels watched the Houston Astros put on a clinic in small ball and big ball on Monday night.

The Angels lost, 8-3, to the Astros in the opener of a three-game series, with much of the damage coming on a pair of titanic two-run homers by slugger Yordan Alvarez.

In between, the Astros took advantage of some sloppiness by the Angels to score two runs in the fourth and they executed perfectly to manufacture a run in the sixth.

By contrast, when the Angels had their best chance to at least tie the score with some good situational hitting, they came up empty.

Trailing 5-3 in the top of the seventh, the Angels had runners at first and second with no outs after singles by Jack Mayfield and Jo Adell.

Tyler Wade, who had driven in the first two runs with a double in the second, then dropped down a bunt, moving the two runners into scoring position.

Andrew Velazquez surprisingly then also bunted, dribbling a ball right back to the mound. Mayfield held at third. After the Astros intentionally walked Shohei Ohtani, Taylor Ward hit a fly ball to end the inning with a zero on the scoreboard.

By the time the Angels came to bat again, the lead had doubled on Alvarez’s second homer of the night.

The Angels came up short against the Astros for the fourth time in five games so far this season, contrasted with five wins in six games against the Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers.

Angels starter Michael Lorenzen, who gave up one run in six innings against the Marlins in his previous start, was charged with four runs in 3-1/3 innings on Monday.

In the first inning, Lorenzen threw a was victimized by a nice piece of hitting from Alvarez, who took a slider inside at the knees and jacked it 415 feet for a two-run homer.

After two perfect innings, Lorenzen crumbled in the fourth. He gave up a pair of singles, and then he walked Kyle Tucker and Jeremy Pena, the latter to force in the tie-breaking run. Lorenzen then hit José Siri with a pitch, driving in another run.

The Angels got back one of those runs in the sixth, when Max Stassi poked a drive down the right field line, knocking it off the pole for his second homer of the season.

The Astros got that run back with a textbook bit of situational baseball. Tucker walked. Peña bunted for a hit. Siri hit a fly ball to the opposite field to move Tucker to third, and then Martin Maldonado laid down a bunt to get him in.

More to come on this story.

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