ANAHEIM — In a span of about 10 minutes, the Angels went from the verge of a comeback to a blowout loss.
The Angels lost, 10-0, to Houston Astros on Monday night, their fourth straight defeat, but the game got out of hand in a hurry.
Trailing 2-0 in the seventh, the Angels had loaded the bases when David Fletcher smoked a hard ground ball to shortstop Carlos Correa, who threw him out to end the threat.
Andrew Wantz then took the mound for the Angels in the top of the eighth and quickly gave up four more runs, including three on a home run by Martin Maldonado. José Marte gave up a grand slam to Marwin Gonzalez in the ninth.
The last two innings ruined the narrative that the Angels were losing despite getting good pitching, which was the case in three losses over the weekend against the Oakland A’s and for most of Monday’s game.
Jaime Barria gave up two in the first inning, but then he didn’t allow anything else and relievers Jimmy Herget and Mike Mayers kept the Astros at just those two runs through seven innings.
That portion of the night matched up with the 3.70 September ERA the Angels had brought into the game, which Manager Joe Maddon said was encouraging.
“I think it provides hope,” Maddon said before Monday’s game.
Many of the pitchers who have contributed to the Angels’ September pitching success aren’t necessarily those who figure to be at the top of the rotation or bullpen next year, but Maddon said it’s a good sign if the pitchers at the bottom end of the staff can perform.
“I think there’s going to be depth that’s going to be accumulated because of that,” Maddon said. “Maybe you don’t turn the keys over to these guys necessarily at the beginning of next year, but at some point, I think you can. But the fact that you’re having some success matters a lot to them individually, and it will make for more interesting conversation when you’re trying to figure out next year.”
Next year Barria will be out of options, so it’s likely he’ll have some kind of role with the Angels unless he’s traded.
He has struggled in his first innings as a starter, and he did so again on Monday. He gave up a homer to José Siri leading off the game, and then he gave up a second run on three hits.
“I need to work on coming out in the first inning,” Barria said through an interpreter. “The last couple times they’ve made hard contact and scored a couple runs. I need to work on my focus getting out there and ready to go.”
After that, though, he worked around a steady stream of baserunners to get into the sixth without allowing further damage.
“He kind of gets smacked in the jaw and then comes out stronger,” Maddon said, referring to Barria’s pattern of tough first innings.
Barria became the first Angels pitcher to allow 10 hits and two runs or fewer since Matt Shoemaker in 2016.
Barria now has a 3.38 ERA over his last five starts.
Maddon said he told Barria after he left the game that he liked the way he rebounded from the bad start.
“He kept getting better and making better pitches,” Maddon said. “He didn’t cave in.”