Hitting takes a holiday vs. the Astros

ANGEL MANAGER Mike Scioscia at the batting cage. Could he be looking for the missing Angel offense? (Flickr/Bart Hanlon).

The on-again, off-again offense of the Los Angeles Angels was off-again on Saturday as the Halos managed only two hits in losing 3-1 to the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. The loss again dropped the team below .500 at 32-33 and demoted it into a tie for second in the American League West with the surging Seattle Mariners.

Ricky Nolasco (2-7) pitched a strong game for the Orange County team, working seven innings and giving up eight hits and two runs. He struck out two and walked none.

“He pitched a good game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said about Nolasco. “Obviously his back is against the wall the whole way. He got some double-play balls to help him out of some jams, but he pitched a really strong seven innings and gave us a chance to win.”

But the Astros – leader by a mile in the AL West –got an even better performance from Mike Fiers (4-2) who gave up two hits and no earned runs in 7.1 innings. He struck out eight batters and walked two.

The only Angels to get a hit were Albert Pujols and Andrelton Simmons, both with singles. The sole Halo run came in the top of the fifth when Ben Revere scored from third on a ground out by Simmons.

On Sunday the Angels will try again with Jesse Chavez (5-6) making the start for the visitors against David Paulino (0-1).

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