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C.J. Cron homers but Angels fall, 4-3, to Astros

C.J. Cron hits a game-tying home run in fourth inning but Angels end up falling to Astros, 4-3

AT THE PLATE: C.J. Cron, who started the game with a .125 average, followed David Freese's fourth-inning single with a two-run home run to left field to pull the Angels even, 2-2. Albert Pujols hit a home run to left field in the eighth to pull the Angels to within 4-3. It was his 523rd — 18th on the all-time list — and 46th against the Astros, tying him with Hank Aaron for most against Houston. But the Angels had only eight hits and were 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. They're batting .218 as a team with a .277 on-base percentage and .194 average (14 for 72) with runners in scoring position. "We have some good hitters who aren't getting hits to fall in right now," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think the track record with some of these guys shows what they can do. We're really confident these guys will get it going."

ON THE MOUND: Astros right-hander Scott Feldman gave up two runs and six hits in six innings, striking out three with no walks, to earn the win, and Tony Sipp and Luke Gregerson threw scoreless innings. Houston's bullpen, a trouble spot last season, ranks second in the league with a 2.09 earned-run average in 43 innings. Angels left-hander Cesar Ramos escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the seventh inning by getting Jason Castro to pop out, and Mike Morin escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the eighth by getting Luis Valbuena to fly out.

IN THE FIELD: Freese, the Angels third baseman, bobbled George Springer's first-inning grounder for an error, and he couldn't find the handle on Castro's fifth-inning grounder, an infield hit that produced the eventual winning run. Houston's fifth-inning rally was aided by a third-strike wild pitch that catcher Drew Butera couldn't block. "We didn't play a crisp game defensively," Scioscia said. "When you're not swinging the bats, you've got to make sure you're getting the outs when you should get them."

UP NEXT: Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (2-0, 4.38 ERA) will oppose Athletics right-hander Kendall Graveman (1-1, 7.27) on Monday at 7 p.m. at Angel Stadium. TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 1330.

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