Angels walked off by Astros in 10-inning battle

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Angels could not hang onto three separate leads as the Astros fought back to hand them a walk-off loss.

Starter Griffin Canning held the Astros in check for the majority of his outing, but the Angels’ 11 hits was not enough to hold off a tough 6-5 loss at Minute Maid Park.

Canning (2-4) labored through 5 innings, using 89 pitches as he allowed five hits. He did not earn a decision as the bullpen would lose the lead multiple times. However, his two earned runs allowed marked his fourth consecutive start of at least five innings and two or fewer runs.

The Angels once again earned the majority of their scoring through home runs. Luis Rengifo and Kevin Pillar each homered in the game to combine for 3 of 5 RBI. Rengifo also contributed in the fourth inning with an RBI single. Zach Neto also added a run in the frame with a double. Los Angeles out-hit Houston 11-10, but went 1-8 with runners in scoring position.

Here are three takeaways:

Canning stays on right track

While he wasn’t able to earn a win in the game, Canning continued to show potential after his tough beginning to the season. He had begun the year with a 7.45 ERA across his first six starts but has improved since. The 28-year-old entered Tuesday’s start with a 1.53 ERA across his last three starts and has seemed to settle down in the month of May.

He had a shaky first inning, allowing back-to-back home runs from Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez that tied the game. The rest of the way was much smoother, as he allowed just three hits over his final four innings. In total, he ended up with three walks and two strikeouts as his ERA lowered to 5.05.

He tallied both of his two strikeouts in his fifth and final inning. Canning now has a 1.99 ERA through four starts in the month of May. It was his third career start at Minute Maid Park. He entered the day with a 7.56 ERA in those starts but improved upon that mark on Tuesday.

Canning is on track to deliver one last start this month as he looks to keep his recent surge rolling. He has adjusted impressively to a frustrating start that was not easy to endure. With much of the season remaining, the Angels should be thrilled to see him trending in the right direction.

Pillar continues historic start

Playing in his 14th game with the Angels, Pillar kept on proving himself as a serious contributor in the lineup for the rest of the season. He launched his fifth home run of the season, a clutch solo shot in the seventh inning.

It was his seventh extra-base hit with the team. He’s now batting .426 (20-47) across 14 games with the Halos and continues to come up big when the squad needs him. Unfortunately, his home run was not enough to lift Los Angeles over the hump for good.

Pillar’s 17 RBI as an Angel are tied for the second-most in franchise history through a player’s first 14 games with the team. He’s slugging .625 this year and has provided production at a ridiculous rate. The 35-year-old is riding an eight-game hitting streak. While Los Angeles failed to get it done, his efforts continue to be greatly appreciated.

Bullpen can’t hold the lead

It was an unfortunate day for the Angels’ bullpen. As Canning exited in the fifth he held a 4-2 lead and things were looking promising. However, Carson Fullmer quickly allowed a game-tying, two-run blast to Jon Singleton in the sixth.

After Pillar regained the lead for Los Angeles in the top of the seventh, it was once again erased in the bottom of the inning. Kyle Tucker hit his second home run of the game off of Luis Garcia to tie the game at five. Tucker leads all of baseball with 17 home runs.

The game headed to extra innings before the Angels could not capitalize in their half of the tenth. Carlos Estevez then allowed a leadoff walk and a sacrifice fly to put runners on second and third with one out. Jeremy Pena stepped up to deliver the walk-off single and hand Estevez his third loss of the season.

The bullpen allowed three runs across 4.1 innings and surrendered two leads in the seventh inning and beyond. It is certainly a frustrating feeling to have the lead numerous times and come up on the wrong side of things. Estevez is one of three bullpen arms that appeared in the game who have an ERA above five. The unit will need to be better going forward if the Angels want to string some wins together and get back into the mix of competitive teams.

The rubber match of the series is scheduled for 11:10 on Wednesday morning. Tyler Anderson (4-4, 2.72 ERA) will start against Houston’s Hunter Brown (1-4, 7.71 ERA). With a win, the Angels will take their second consecutive series and its fifth win in five games.