Astros have few answers for Richards, Angels

Springer, Singleton combine for 7 K's; McHugh exits with finger injury

Astros have few answers for Richards, Angels

ANAHEIM -- There are no easy answers for the Astros at this point. The pitching, which performed so well when the club was riding high in May, has been shaky of late, and the offense continues to swing and miss at an alarmingly high rate.

The Astros also threw in a pair of costly errors Sunday afternoon, both of which led to runs, as they capped a forgettable four-game series at Angel Stadium with a 6-1 loss to the Angels that was their season-high-tying seventh in a row.

Mike Trout beat the Astros with a walk-off homer Friday, and the Angels rallied for eight runs in the seventh inning Saturday to storm back from a four-run deficit. Not much at all went right for the Astros on Sunday.

"We didn't play well," manager Bo Porter said. "At the same time, the Angels played real well. We didn't help ourselves if you look at the number of strikeouts and the way we played these last four games. They pretty much took it to us in every aspect of the game."

The Astros struck out 12 times Sunday for the second game in a row, with their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters -- rookies George Springer and Jon Singleton -- combining to go 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts.

"When it's all said and done, George Springer and Jonathan Singleton are going to be quality, quality players at the Major League level," Porter said. "We're asking them to do something at this stage of their career they're probably not ready for. But it's the situation we're in as an organization.

"We don't have other veteran guys surrounding them, but it's the cards they're being dealt. At the end of the day, they'll be better for it, but right now it's a tough slate for two young guys to be asked to do what it is we're asking them to do. But it's the situation that we're in."

As the Astros packed their bags in a quiet clubhouse Sunday to prepare for a trip to Arlington, catcher Carlos Corporan spoke about not giving up.

"Everybody is sticking together, and nobody is giving up and we're going to fight to the end," he said. "If we keep doing what we're doing and preparing ourselves the way we do, things are going to take care of themselves."

Astros starter Collin McHugh (4-8) lost his fifth consecutive start, giving up three runs (two earned) and four hits in four innings. He was pulled from the game after 70 pitches when the fingernail on the middle finger of his right hand pulled away from the skin.

"In warmups in the fourth inning, it split open right at the nail," he said. "I didn't have a blister or anything, and I wasn't thinking a whole lot about it, but the first couple of pitches that inning it just started bleeding. I was trying to get through it, and I threw a lot more breaking balls. It was tough after that with fastball command."

Angels starter Garrett Richards (10-2) struck out a career-high 11 and held the Astros to one run and six hits in 7 1/3 innings. He's one of five American League players on the Final Vote ballot for the All-Star Game, along with the Astros' Dallas Keuchel.

"I think it's the same thing I've been doing all year, getting ahead of hitters with the fastball and breaking ball and putting guys away with two strikes and just really attacking guys, throwing quality strikes and giving us a chance to win," Richards said.

The Angels scored three times in the third inning, including a two-run, bases-loaded single by Albert Pujols. The third run scored when All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve made an errant throw to first trying to finish a double play, allowing Trout, who was elected to the All-Star Game as a starter, to trot home.

Kole Calhoun homered in the seventh off David Martinez, and a throwing error on Corporan allowed another Angels run in a two-run eighth.

"Right now, we're in a rut, and we have not played well," Porter said. "At the same time, nobody is going to feel sorry for you. It's up to them in the clubhouse, and those are the guys we have and those are the guys we're going to run out there. It's going to be up to us to rectify what we have going."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.