HOUSTON (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels were left searching for answers on Saturday after they matched a season worst with their sixth straight loss to further dampen their AL wildcard hopes.
Evan Gattis hit a three-run homer to back a solid start by Charlie Morton and lead the Houston Astros to the 6-2 win.
“It’s frustrating for sure but … there’s still eight games left,” Angels star Mike Trout said.
“So we’ve just got to try to finish strong.”
Justin Upton hit two home runs for the Angels, who began the day 3 ½ games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot.
“We can’t go 2-0 tomorrow,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve got one game. We’ve got to slice it down pitch to pitch with that focus.”
Carlos Correa had three hits and three RBIs a day after his 23rd birthday as the AL West champion Astros won for the seventh time in eight games.
The Astros led 1-0 in the fifth inning when they got things going with two outs. Eduardo Paredes plunked Alex Bregman, Marwin Gonzalez singled, Correa hit an RBI double and Gattis sent his towering homer to the train tracks atop the left field wall. Morton (13-7) yielded four hits and one run in seven innings for his second straight win.
“First off, he’s nasty,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s really good and when he gets inside the strike zone and the hitters get threatened they come out swinging and when he’s throwing quality strikes he gets some early outs.”
Bud Norris (2-6) allowed three hits and one run over 3 1/3 innings in his second start after spending most of the year in the bullpen.
Upton’s homer in the seventh ended the Angels’ scoreless streak at 23 innings. He connected in the ninth for his 34th homer, extending his career high in a season split between Detroit and Los Angeles.
The Angels have managed just two runs combined in the last three games. Aside from Upton, the top of the Angels’ order struggled, with Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols combining to go 1 for 11 with four strikeouts.
“When things aren’t going right and you see some good pitching, it can wear you down,” Upton said. “We’ve just got to pull together and keep having good at-bats and see what happens.”
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