Halos' streak ends after Wilson wavers

Halos' streak ends after Wilson wavers

HOUSTON -- Sure, the formality followed a few hours later, but the Angels' six-game winning streak might as well have been over by the first inning.

The highlights -- or, as far as C.J. Wilson is concerned, the lowlights -- included three runs, a 400-foot sacrifice fly, four consecutive hits and a sharp reminder of September's arrival.

The Astros never stopped hitting, regardless of the hurler on the mound, and ultimately cruised past the visiting Angels for an 8-3 win on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.

"The team deserved a better result than that tonight," Wilson said. "It's unfortunate that's all I had out there."

Manager Mike Scioscia spoke candidly about the importance of Monday's day of rest heading into the stretch run.

But instead of looking refreshed, the Angels appeared to be sapped of any momentum gained from last week's rush to the best record in baseball.

It took them 6 1/3 innings to even get an earned run off Houston starter Brad Peacock, he of a 5.13 ERA entering the game. To be fair, Peacock had allowed one earned run in three of his previous four starts.

"Brad did a nice job of pounding the strike zone, mixing up his pitches, and when you score early in the game and you keep adding on, it kind of helps the pitching staff out," said the Astros' new interim manager, Tom Lawless.

But it was the Astros' offense that really pushed the Angels, as Houston cranked 15 hits and scored as many runs as the Angels had allowed during their entire winning streak.

It started with Wilson, who lasted just 3 1/3 innings while allowing five runs on eight hits.

"C.J. just never got into it and wasn't quite as crisp as he needed to be," said manager Mike Scioscia. "It was just simple analytics of being behind in too many counts. Once he got behind in the counts, he never really got back in."

Wilson shouldered the blame for a loss that certainly doesn't set a positive tone for the season's final month.

"I was the only person that cost us the game today," Wilson said. "Everybody else did their job. Offense came on, and defense played really well. I just gave up a couple of runs quick, and there was no time to make any adjustments. I was out of there in 70 pitches."

Though he seemed to have turned a corner recently after struggling in and out of a stint on the disabled list in July, Wilson has never really settled in this season. He has now allowed at least five runs in eight starts this season, three of them against Houston.

With the Angels' starting pitching depth already thin -- they're essentially using a committee right now for the fifth starter -- consistency from Wilson is vital. He'll likely get another crack at the Astros next week.

"We hope [this is temporary]," Scioscia said. "We really need C.J., so hopefully he'll turn the page and give us a start we need."

The tough outing also diluted an impressive run of starting pitching, as Angels hurlers had allowed three runs or fewer in 20 of 21 starts.

A silver lining did emerge, though, as three September callups (Cam Bedrosian, Vinnie Pestano and Wade LeBlanc) saw immediate work out of the bullpen. LeBlanc gave up an earned run; Bedrosian's two runs were ruled unearned due to a Gordon Beckham throwing error.

A quiet offense didn't mean total silence, led by Erick Aybar extending his hitting streak to 17 games with a double off the top of the left-field wall during the Angels' two-run seventh. It's the longest streak for the club since Torii Hunter's 18-game run in August 2011.

But it wasn't enough to spark one of the Angels' patented comeback victories, though they do still have a 10-5 lead over the Astros in the season series.

Houston has been a surprisingly plucky foe since joining the American League West, with Los Angeles only four games above .500 against the Astros dating back to the start of 2013.

Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.