By Pete Zarustica
The good things did not come to an end for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Friday night, at least not all of them. Yes, they lost 2-1 to the Astros in Houston, snapping a six-game winning streak. But they did get another top notch pitching performance from Matt Shoemaker.
“Shoe” (now 5-10) pitched 6.2 innings, giving up five hits and two runs. He struck out five batters and walked one. But as good as he was, even better was Lance McCullers, who threw eight innings and yielded just four hits and one run. He struck out 10 and walked four.
The Angels have been hitting the ball well lately, but against McCullers evidently had trouble even seeing the ball and were unable to push across a single run until the top of the ninth when Andrelton Simmons singled home Kole Calhoun. The Astros touched single runs in the fifth and seventh innings for their runs, both coming on singles.
Simmons was the hitting star for the Halos, getting two hits to raise his average to .276.
McCullers was so overpowering that the meat part of the Angels’ batting order – Albert Pujols and Mike Trout – went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts, although Trout did reach once on a walk. Reverting to old (bad) habits, the team was 1–for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Angels (43-53) will continue their series with the Astros (52-44) on Saturday.