After an ugly collision at the plate sent Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy to the hospital, manager Brad Ausmus said Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick deserved a suspension for running over Lucroy in the eighth inning of an 11-10 Astros victory Sunday.
“It certainly didn’t look like a clean play,” Ausmus said. “I don’t know what actually happened. It looked like Marisnick took a step to the left and bowled into him. The call was right. I think Major League Baseball should take a look at it, and consider some type of suspension.”
The shoulder of Marisnick connected with the jaw of Lucroy on the play. Lucroy went slack as he lay prone in the grass. He remained there for several minutes before being carted off the field. He was scheduled to undergo an evaluation for a concussion and a fractured nose. Marisnick was ruled out on the play.
The injury added another level of frustration to a defeat in the first-half finale. The might of Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani could not compensate for a bullpen meltdown as the Angels pitching staff crumbled. Trout homered twice and Ohtani launched one of his own. It did not matter. The Angels pitching staff could not keep the lead secure. Houston outfielder George Springer hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning.
“We had our chances,” Trout said.
The defeat left the Angels with a 45-46 record at the break. The team continues to process the unexpected death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs a week ago. Trout indicated he would travel to the All-Star game this week so he could play to honor Skaggs’ memory. Trout has homered six times in the last five games, giving him 28 this season.
“Considering what happened this week, it’s been kind of remarkable he’s been able to focus and have that much success,” Ausmus said.
Angels starter Jose Suarez could not finish the fourth inning. He got punished by the bottom of the Astros order in the second. He gave up a single to first baseman Tyler White before outfielder Tony Kemp arrived with two outs. Kemp smashed a first-pitch fastball for a two-run homer.
The Angels erased the deficit in the third. They were facing Jose Urquidy, a 24-year-old rookie making his second start in the majors. He would record only eight outs.
The fifth-inning flurry began with a double by Lucroy. After a single by Luis Rengifo, Lucroy scored on a wild pitch. David Fletcher singled into left field, where Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez bobbled the baseball and permitted Rengifo to score.
The shoddy defense played no role in the next strike. Urquidy poured a 91-mph fastball down the middle. Ohtani detonated it for his 14th homer of the year.
The barrage did not end there. Albert Pujols supplied an RBI double to make it a five-run inning. The offense added another tally in the fourth against reliever Chris Devenski, who gave up a double to Fletcher and a sacrifice fly to Trout. Trout hit a solo shot in the sixth to pad the lead to 8-4.
Ausmus entrusted Cam Bedrosian with the advantage in the sixth. Bedrosian had yielded four earned runs since June 1. That number doubled Sunday.
Houston loaded the bases on a double by second baseman Jose Altuve, a walk by shortstop Alex Bregman and a single by designated hitter Michael Brantley. The stage was set for Yuli Gurriel. He took Bedrosian deep to tie the score.
A two-run shot by Trout in the eighth put the Angels back ahead. But a two-run single by Alvarez tied the score in the bottom of the inning. Springer ended the proceedings in the 10th.
“Our bullpen has been a strength of ours all year,” Ausmus said. “They just had a bad day.”
Matt Harvey (2-4, 7.50 earned-run average) made 72 pitches in 3 1/3 innings for triple-A Salt Lake in what could be his final rehab outing. Harvey gave up three runs and struck out seven. He has not pitched in the majors since May 23. He has been sidelined because of a strained muscle in his back.