The Astros wasted a great pitching performance from Bud Norris on Friday at Minute Maid Park. Brandon Barnes made two outstanding catches in center field, but two unearned runs contributed in the Angels beating the Astros 4-2.
Erick Aybar’s two-run, two-out single in the ninth inning off Hector Ambriz gave the Angels a 4-1 lead. On a road trip this year the Astros swept a four-game series with the Angels.
Norris’ mastery of the Angels continued with one unearned run in seven innings. Norris allowed only four hits and one walk with five strikeouts.
Norris came into the game 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA vs. the Angels this season. The right-hander is the first player to pitch at least six innings in each of his first three starts against the Angels and give up a total of one run.
Like Norris, Jerome Williams was on his game. In 6 1/3 innings Williams allowed one run and five hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
Paul Clemens (4-3) gave up an unearned in the eighth inning that gave the Angels the lead for good. In 1 1/3 innings Clemens gave up two runs, one earned, and two hits with two walks and got the loss.
In relief of Williams, Dane De La Rosa, who got the win, pitched 2/3 of a scoreless inning in the seventh in a 1-1 game. Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the Angels.
AT THE PLATE
J.D. Martinez had three of the Astros' seven hits..
Jason Castro’s 11 home run of the season off Williams to open the Houston fourth inning gave the Astros a 1-0 lead. Castro’s homer, estimated at 425 feet, almost cleared the Astros bullpen in right-center.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth, the Astros had runners at first and third with one out against Jepsen. Castro flied out to short left and Carter flied out to center.
Matt Dominguez had a sacrifice fly in the ninth off Ernesto Frieri, who got his 20th save..
For the Angels, Mike Trout had a single and two walks. His sixth-inning single off Norris scored Aybar to tie the game 1-1. Josh Hamilton had two hits and was hit by a pitch.
IN THE FIELD
Barnes made two incredible plays, both in the third inning, robbing Hank Conger of extra bases and J.B. Shuck of a single.
On the first, Barnes ran full speed trying to chase the ball hit by Conger. Barnes caught up with the ball in deep left-center, reached up and made the catch just as he was hitting the outfield wall. Barnes came directly in from center on his second great catch. Just as it looked like the ball was about to drop in for a hit, Barnes dove for the ball and made the catch for the third out.
The Astros turned a 1-4-3 double play in the fifth inning. On a ball hit by Alberto Callaspo, Norris got a glove on it as the ball directed to second baseman Jose Altuve. Altuve tagged Hamilton running down the line and fired to first baseman Brett Wallace to complete the double play. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the seventh inning, much to Norris’ delight. However, Cedeno’s throwing error in the eighth inning allowed pinch runner Peter Bourjos to score, giving the Angels a 2-1 lead.
Trout’s leaping catch to end the seventh off a hard liner from Matt Dominguez saved a run for the Angels. Hamilton made a nice diving catch off a ball hit by Castro to end the first inning.
ON THE BASES
Altuve stole second base on a pitchout in the eighth inning. Being aggressive didn’t always pay off for the Astros. Carlos Pena tried to make something happen and it backfired in a 1-1 game. Pena, who opened the seventh with a single, was out at third base following a single by Martinez. Altuve was out trying to steal third base in the sixth inning.
The three-game series with the Angels continues on Saturday with RHP Jordan Lyles (4-2, 3.68 ERA) vs. Angels RHP Joe Blanton (1-10, 5.26 ERA). In Sunday’s series finale, RHP Lucas Harrell (5-8) will oppose Angels LHP C.J. Wilson (7-5).
Lyles is coming off his first loss in more than a month in Houston’s 14-6 defeat against the Cubs. In his last eight starts since May 17 the 22-year-old Lyles is 3-1 with 2.36 ERA.