McCullers solid through six; Halos win in 13
It was a good ole’ pitchers duel during the series finale between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Angels on the West Coast, but the home team would win the battle on a walk-off RBI knock by rookie Taylor Featherston in the 13th inning.
Houston went hitless during the first two innings of the ballgame, finally recording their first hit with Luis Valbuena leading off the inning. Domingo Santana followed up Valbuena’s hit by lining out to center fielder Mike Trout for the first out of the frame, setting it up catching Jason Castro who didn’t play in yesterday’s huge win.
Starting pitcher Andrew Heaney escaped the inning without giving up any runs to this dangerous lineup by getting Castro to ground into a double-play on the second pitch of the at-bat.
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Heaney (0-0, 1.50 ERA) made his Angels debut tonight, holding the Astros to only one earned run on four hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He debuted with the Miami Marlins last season, going 0-3 with a total of 19 earned runs behind 32 hits, nine home runs with a 20/7 K/BB ratio across 29 1/3 frames during his rookie campaign.
After the Astros failed to get on base in the top of the fourth inning, Los Angeles plated the first run of the game during the home half. Albert Pujols– who had a pair of home runs vs Houston earlier this week – led off the inning by drawing a four-pitch walk against Lance McCullers.
Matt Joyce moved Pujols over to second base with a one-out single to left fielder, Preston Tucker. McCullers issued his second walk of the inning to Efren Navarro shortly after Joyce advanced Pujols into scoring position – loading up the bases with Halos and veteran Chris Iannetta due up next in the lineup.
Iannetta made it 1-0 on a sacrifice fly to Tucker, pushing ‘The Machine’ across to score from third base.
Rookie shortstop Carlos Correa, who nearly hit for the cycle the night before, evened things at one apiece with an RBI double during the top of the sixth inning to score All-Star hopeful, Jose Altuve.
Altuve singled on a ground ball to Trout in center field then recorded his 18th stolen base of the season with Correa in the batter’s box, putting himself in scoring position.
Heaney was able to get out of the jam by striking Rasmus out swinging on three pitches.
McCullers (3-2, 2.33 ERA) nearly matched his counterpart by giving up nearly one earned run on four hits but walked three batters while striking out six in as many innings.
Both teams failed to score during the final innings of the game, which meant free baseball in Los Angeles. With reliever Joe Thatcher on the mound in the 13th, Erick Aybar became the game-winning run after reaching base safely on a single to George Springer in center field.
Aybar later advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Navarro for the second out of the inning which forced skipper A.J. Hinch to make another pitching change, calling upon seasoned veteran Chad Qualls to take over on the bump.
Qualls walked Iannetta on four pitches then gave up the game-winning hit to Featherston.