The revenge story dissipated while new numbers materialized to measure the Angels’ season.
Neither was a good development.
They matched a season high with their sixth straight loss Sunday and fell a season-high 17½ games behind the first-place Houston Astros. Not that they’re watching the standings anymore, but a 3-1 loss at Angel Stadium was telling.
They couldn’t take advantage of another good outing by Felix Pena and managed four hits in a series sweep by Houston. They got Shohei Ohtani to pinch hit with a runner on with two outs in the ninth inning, but Ohtani struck out against Roberto Osuna, a day after Ohtani was hit by an Osuna pitch.
The Angels were in that position, after their other stars — Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Andrelton Simmons — went a combined 1 for 11.
“We hit some balls hard, but for the most part, though, we didn’t pressure them on the offensive side the way we needed them to,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
The Angels have not led since Aug.19, a streak of 48 innings. Pena can attest to that, having received just 11 runs of support in his last nine starts.
He was the losing pitcher but could only be faulted for a third-inning hiccup in a season-high 97-pitch appearance that showed his potential for a bigger role.
At the end of the game, Pena said he asked pitching coach Charles Nagy how many pitches he threw because he didn’t feel tired. Nagy worked with Pena on having better starts to games in what Scioscia referred to as “staggered warmups.”
In his first start since a 12-strikeout performance against Arizona, Pena retired the first six batters on 25 pitches.
“That was the difference today,” Pena said through an interpreter. “Basically I tried to emulate the warmup.”
Relievers Cam Bedrosian, Blake Parker and Hansel Robles picked up from Pena and gave the Angels a chance. Their lone run came on Kole Calhoun’s fielder’s choice.
Houston’s Framber Valdez made his first major league start and kept the Angels quiet with one run allowed on two hits in five innings. He struck out Trout with a 95-mph fastball in the fourth inning.
David Fletcher singled with two outs in the eighth to get Trout to the plate, and Trout struck out on a pitch outside the strike zone from Hector Rondon.
The day might have been summed up by Eric Young Jr.’s third-inning at-bat. He appeared to foul off a pitch that bounced behind the plate, but Houston catcher Max Stassi grabbed it and turned it into a double play.
“It looked like the catcher picked it up and carried it into the field of play,” Scioscia said. “It doesn’t matter where the ball bounces, it’s where it touches the fielder.”
First-round draft pick Jordyn Adams is recovering from a broken jaw from an outfield collision and has had his jaw wired shut, according to MLB.com.
Adams worked out at Angel Stadium before the game. The 19-year-old was hitting .267 with 13 RBIs in 29 games in rookie league this season.