Alvarez, Astros bats overpower Angels in 11-hit attack

Henry Tran-The Sporting Tribune
Yordan Alvarez and the Astros didn't seem to mind the challenge and tallied 11 hits in a 6-1 win over the Angels.

ANAHEIM , Calif. — The Angels sent their best pitcher to the mound Saturday in hopes of evening up the weekend series against the Houston Astros.

Yordan Alvarez and the Astros didn’t seem to mind the challenge and tallied 11 hits in a 6-1 win over the Angels.

Alvarez had three extra base hits in three at bats for the Astros after hitting a bases-clearing double on Friday in Houston’s win.

“I wanted to walk him but I can’t walk him when first and second base is occupied. I’m not going to push a run to third base,” Angels manager Ron Washington said of Alvarez. “That’s the baseball gods working right there. They wouldn’t give me a chance to walk him.”

Tyler Anderson was able to pitch himself out of damage for the Angels and had a solid outing despite a few mistakes. He scattered seven hits, allowed four runs and struck out three in six innings of work.

Anderson faced a jam in the third inning. Chaz McCormick hit a leadoff triple off the right field wall and subsequently scored on a RBI single from Jose Altuve.

Anderson waked the next two hitters to load the bases with no outs. After two strikeouts, Jake Meyers hit a run-scoring single to left field but Taylor Ward threw out Alex Bregman at home plate to hold the lead to 2-0.

The outfield assist was the fifth of the season for Ward which is the most in the American League and tied for the second most in the major leagues.

“That was awesome,” Washington said. “Early in the year he wasn’t getting many opportunities to do it and recently when he got those opportunities he’s got his arm in good shape and taking chances to throw someone out.”

Alvarez hit a two-run home run off Anderson in the fifth inning to give the Astros a 4-0 lead.

The Angels had an opportunity to climb back into the game in the seventh inning with two outs. Nolan Schanuel blasted his seventh home run of the season 386 feet to right field to cut Houston’s lead to 4-1.

Luis Rengifo, Taylor Ward and Willie Calhoun all drew walks to load the bases and put the go ahead run at the plate. Zach Neto promptly grounded out to first base to end the inning with the Astros’ three-run lead intact.

The Angels stranded 13 runners Saturday and were 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

“All night we put ourselves in position to put some runs on the board, we just didn’t come up with a hit,” Washington said. “If we could have done something in one of those situations, it would have made a difference in that ballgame, but we didn’t.”

Highly-ranked prospect Ben Joyce got into the game in the eighth inning for his second appearance of the season. It was a rough outing for the 23-year old who allowed two runs on four hits and got just one out.

“I’m still trying to figure out how he didn’t throw anything under 101 and they were hitting the ball to right field and guys are throwing 97-98 and they missing that stuff,” Washington said. “They worked him up pretty good. At least he was attacking the zone and they had to earn what they got.”

Joyce did throw a pitch 103.9 miles per hour which is the fastest pitch ever thrown by an Angels pitcher since they started tracking pitches in 2008. Alvarez hit that pitch down the line for a double.

“There’s a few pitches I would like back, but overall I felt good,” Joyce said. “I felt comfortable, just got hit around a little bit. He’s (Alvarez) one of the best hitters in baseball and they can catch up to that stuff. It’s just being better with my off-speed and setting it up a little better and I think the result could have been different.”

Carson Fulmer relieved Joyce in the eighth inning and got the next two outs to prevent further damage. Fulmer finished the game for the Angels and had four strikeouts in 1.2 innings.

Michael Stefanic hit a pinch hit single in the ninth inning in his season debut for the Angels.

The Angels are the third team in the American League to reach 40 losses, joining the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics. The A’s lost their 40th game earlier Saturday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Patrick Sandoval will pitch for the Angels Sunday in the final game of the home stand. The Astros will seek their third sweep of the season and send veteran Justin Verlander to the mound.