Street gives up 5 runs in 9th; Angels stunned by Astros 5-3
Sep. 14, 2015
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels were one strike away from a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros and a 2 1-2-game deficit in the AL West with three weeks to go.
Five batters later, they were wondering what happened to closer Huston Street — and to a wasted opportunity to change their season.
Pinch-hitter Jed Lowrie hit a three-run homer to complete an astounding five-run rally with two outs in the ninth inning, and the Astros stunned the Angels 5-3 Sunday.
Preston Tucker started the rally with a two-strike solo homer for the Astros, who got five consecutive hits off Street (3-3), the AL saves leader. The Angel Stadium crowd that chanted "Sweep! Sweep!" while Tucker batted was left in numb silence for the final minutes.
"We've got to turn the page on this one," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Sometimes that page is heavy, like it was this afternoon, but we have to turn it. Huston has been there for us all year, and we'll need him again."
The Angels were agonizingly close to wrapping up a nine-game homestand with their fourth straight win and their eighth in 11 games in September. C.J. Cron hit two homers and Mike Trout also connected for the third-place Angels, who thought they had turned the AL West into a real three-team race.
Instead, Street blew his fifth save of the season, allowing a career-high five runs.
"I was pretty frustrated afterward, more in disbelief," Street said. "It's a brutal loss in the way it happened, obviously, trying to go for the sweep and what it does to the standings. The changeup to Lowrie was a bad pitch, probably the only bad pitch in the entire inning."
The Astros (77-66) won for just the second time in the first six games of their 10-game road trip, which concludes at Texas (75-67). The second-place Rangers are 1 1/2 games behind Houston, while the Angels (72-70) dropped three games behind Texas for the second wild-card spot.
After Tucker's homer, George Springer put a triple just beyond the reach of diving right fielder Kole Calhoun, and he scored on Jose Altuve's bloop single. Carlos Correa followed with an infield single when his hard-hit grounder became lodged in the webbing of Taylor Featherston's glove, something that had never happened to the second baseman before.
"I couldn't throw my glove all the way to first base," Featherston said.
Lowrie then hit a hanging changeup into the short right-field corner, and Calhoun appeared to be inches away from making the catch. Calhoun reached into the crowd and came up empty.
"It's about as dramatic of a momentum shift or comeback as you're going to see," Lowrie said. "But what's made this team great all year is that we've literally fought to the last pitch."
Chad Qualls (2-4) got two outs in the eighth for Houston, and Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his 27th save.
Andrew Heaney allowed a baserunner in each of his five scoreless innings, but the Angels rookie stranded nine runners.
Mike Fiers had eight strikeouts in seven innings of six-hit ball for the Astros, giving up Trout's 35th homer in the first inning.
GAME OF CRONS
Cron hit a tiebreaking homer in the Angels' 3-2 victory on Saturday night, and the slugger connected in the second and seventh innings Sunday. Cron would have come up again for the Angels in the ninth, but Scioscia had already pulled him for defensive replacement Efren Navarro, who struck out.
Astros: CF Carlos Gomez was scratched with a sore left side. He's heading home to see the team doctor, but will rejoin the Astros in Arlington.
Angels: Nick Tropeano will start Tuesday in Seattle because Matt Shoemaker isn't quite ready to return from right forearm tightness.
Astros: Scott Kazmir (7-10, 2.63 ERA) is up for the opener of that four-game series at Texas.
Angels: Garrett Richards (13-10, 3.71 ERA) takes the mound Monday when they open a 10-game road trip in Seattle.