Angels roughed up by Astros' two big innings

Angels roughed up by Astros' two big innings

Angels roughed up by Astros' two big innings

ANAHEIM -- The location moved from Cleveland to Anaheim. The opponent changed from the Indians to the Astros. But the results stayed the same for starter Jerome Williams as the Angels lost, 8-2, to the Astros on Friday night at Angel Stadium.

In Williams' last outing, he retired 17 of the first 18 batters he faced before things unraveled and four runs scored in the sixth.

On Friday -- as the Angels lost five straight home games to a division opponent for the first time since 2006 -- Williams was not quite as crisp, but he did retire 12 of the first 16 batters and shut the Astros out through four.

In the fifth, it was deja vu as three straight hits -- one an infield single -- and a pair of walks were too much for the right-hander to overcome.

"Nothing felt different," Williams said. "I'm trying to throw the ball down in the zone and they got hits off it. I don't want to leave the ball up in the zone and get crushed. Trying to pitch down in the zone, and when they didn't get hits off it, they were patient and took the walks."

L.J. Hoes led off the fifth with a double down the right-field line, Jonathan Villar followed with a bunt single and Robbie Grossman gave the Astros a 1-0 lead with a single to right field.

Williams then retired Brett Wallace, walked Jose Altuve to load the bases and walked Jason Castro, giving the Astros another run before J.C. Gutierrez was summoned to finish the inning.

"What's hurting Jerome right now is commanding counts," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's behind way too many counts. It comes down to commanding the baseball. His ball-strike ratio wasn't good. He mixed and matched and got out of some trouble early, but the fifth inning got him."

Williams lasted 4 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and four walks, but it could have been a lot worse as the Astros had opportunities to score in both the second and third.

In the second, Brandon Barnes hit a long drive to left field, but Mike Trout made a leaping catch to rob him of what would have been his seventh home run of the season.

In the third, the Astros had a runner on third and none out, but Williams escaped via a pair of strikeouts and a groundout.

Trout went 1-for-3 with a walk, reaching base in his 38th consecutive game, but the Angels were limited to a pair of unearned runs against Astros starter Brad Peacock, who pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed just four hits.

"Just confidence man," Peacock said. "I went out there today and just pounded the bottom of the zone. [Catcher Jason] Castro called a great game again, and I just let the defense do the work."

After recording just two hits through six innings, the Angels made the game interesting in the seventh when Chris Nelson reached on an error, Hank Conger doubled and Grant Green followed with an RBI single to pull the Angels to within two.

The Astros pulled away with a four-run ninth behind back-to-back home runs against right-hander Joe Blanton. Chris Carter -- who recorded a career-high five RBIs -- belted a three-run blast, and Matt Dominguez followed with a solo shot.

With the loss, the Angels are now just 6-8 against the Astros and are left searching for answers as to why Houston appears to have their number.

"I have no clue," Williams said. "We play hard and they play, too. I don't know. Can't answer that."

William Boor is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.