Bullpen blows eighth-inning lead in defeat
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Tyler Clippard allowed a decisive three-run home run to Andrelton Simmons and the Astros squandered a five-run lead in a 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Simmons’ blast, on a first-pitch splitter, cemented a four-run eighth inning for the Angels. All four runs scored with two outs. Two were charged to Francis Martes, who began the inning for the Astros.
The defeat marked a missed opportunity for the Astros (78-51), who lead the Boston Red Sox by five games for the best record in the AL. The Red Sox (7356) lost a third consecutive game earlier Saturday.
Clippard and the Astros’ bullpen spoiled a strong start from Brad Peacock, who improved his ERA to 3.12 behind six innings of one-run ball. Peacock allowed only three hits, one a solo home run by Kole Calhoun, and struck out eight against only one walk. Of his 96 pitches, 49 were sliders. Of those 49, 12 induced a swing and miss.
George Springer and Jake Marisnick each launched shots to left field in the game that traveled more than 400 feet. For Springer, it was only his second homer since the All-Star break but his 29th of the season, matching the career high he set last season. Marisnick’s was his career-high 16th of the year.
The Astros jumped on the Angels early. Josh Reddick ripped a two-run single off lefthander Tyler Skaggs in the first inning. In the second, the Astros scored on a balk by Skaggs and an error at third base by ex-Astro Luis Valbuena.
Before Martes and Clippard, Francisco Liriano was charged with two runs in one-third of an inning of relief. The second of the two hits Liriano allowed was deflected by third baseman J.D. Davis into the outfield en route to becoming a Simmons double. According to Statcast, batted balls like Simmons’ double go for a hit only 4 percent of the time.
Jake Marisnick, right, is greeted by Alex Bregman after hitting a solo home run in the fourth inning.