Street caps stellar bullpen effort with 40th save

Street caps stellar bullpen effort with 40th save

HOUSTON -- On Tuesday night, Angels closer Huston Street intentionally walked the switch-hitting Jed Lowrie with two outs in the ninth inning, putting the winning run on first base in favor of the platoon advantage against right-handed-hitting Evan Gattis. After recording the game-ending strikeout, though, Street expressed his desire for another crack at Lowrie, because of the recent history between the pair and because Street loves the challenge.

"I'll get to face him again," Street said with a smile before Wednesday's 6-5 win over the Astros.

The moment came quickly in the ninth inning Wednesday. Street gave up a two-out RBI single to Astros shortstop Carlos Correa to cut the Angels' deficit to one, and up came Lowrie. Ten days earlier, Lowrie wrapped a three-run homer around the right-field foul pole at Angel Stadium against Street, capping a two-out, five-run rally that handed the Angels a demoralizing loss.

This time, Street located a 1-0 changeup on the outside part of the plate and got Lowrie to roll over on a game-ending groundout to second baseman Taylor Featherston.

Vindication?

"Honestly, I really just respect him as a player, the way he goes about his business -- it's a respectful competition," Street said after his 40th save, which put the Angels 1 1/2 games back of the Astros for the second American League Wild Card spot.

"Once he hits that ball and it finds Featherston's glove, all I was thinking, really, was just, 'Please don't get stuck.'"

Street was referencing the 111-mph Correa one-hopper that got lodged in the webbing of Featherston's glove and helped set up Lowrie's homer on Sept. 13.

The Angels have continued to grind since then, especially their bullpen.

Angels relievers accounted for 8 2/3 of the club's 18 innings in back-to-back games at Minute Maid Park, an arduous task without setup man Joe Smith, who may be lost for the season because of a sprained left ankle. Six different relievers have combined to give up just four runs in that span, helping the Angels capture back-to-back one-run victories.

"It's awesome, man," Smith said. "Injuries happen, it's part of the game, and you need people to step up. The bullpen has stepped up."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.