Angels fall to 1-3 on young season after bullpen falters against Astros

The Houston Astros broke open a tight game with two runs off Angels reliever Archie Bradley in the eighth inning on Sunday, pulling away for a 4-1 victory before a crowd of 41,253 in Angel Stadium to take three of four games in the season-opening series.

Jeremy Pena singled to left field to open the eighth and took third and Alex Bregman’s single to right. Pena scored on Bradley’s wild pitch for a 3-1 lead, and Yordan Alvarez walked to put two on.

Jimmy Herget replaced Bradley and got Aledmys Diaz and Kyle Tucker to fly out to center field, but Bregman scored on Chas McCormick’s infield single for a 4-1 lead, Angels third baseman Jack Mayfield making a nice backhand diving stop of McCormick’s shot down the line but throwing late to first.

The inning ended with Angels left fielder Jo Adell robbing Niko Goodrum of a three-run homer with a leaping grab at the top of the wall.

For seven innings, the length of a fingertip was all that separated the Angels and Astros.

The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the second when Mayfield, batting in the cleanup spot while third baseman Anthony Rendon was given a day off, drove a solo homer to left-center field off Astros starter Jose Urquidy.

The Angels had a chance to pad the lead in the third when Tyler Wade reached on a one-out bunt single between the mound and first base and took third on Shohei Ohtani’s ground-rule double, a 119.1-mph laser that one-hopped the short wall in right and was the hardest-hit ball of the two-way star’s career.

Mike Trout followed with a fly ball to medium right. The speedy Wade tagged and beat Tucker’s strong throw home with a head-first slide, but umpire Ryan Wills ruled that Wade’s left-handed swipe did not touch the plate.

Houston Astros catcher Martin Maldonado, right, tries to tag Angels baserunner Tyler Wade at home plate during the third inning Sunday. Wade was called out on the play.

(Alex Gallardo / Associated Press)

Catcher Martin Maldonado tagged Wade behind the home-plate circle for an inning-ending double play.

The Angels challenged, and the crowd roared twice when a pair of replays showed Wade appearing to nick the back of the plate with his pinky finger. But the out call was upheld, and the inning was over.

Angels starter José Suarez gave up two walks and a single in the top of the third but escaped the bases-loaded, one-out jam when he got Bregman to fly to shallow center, Maldonado holding at third, and Alvarez to line out to center.

The Angels left-hander wasn’t as fortunate after walking two with one out in the fifth. Suarez, his pitch count at 75, was pulled in favor of right-hander Austin Warren, who struck out Pena looking at a 95-mph fastball for the second out.

But Warren threw a wild pitch, advancing the runners to second and third, and Bregman lined a two-run single to center for a 2-1 lead.

Trout bobbled the hit, allowing Bregman to take second, for his first error since Aug. 19, 2019, snapping a streak of 104 games and 894 2/3 innings without an error. But Alvarez grounded to second to end the inning.

Urquidy went five innings, giving up one run and four hits, striking out two and walking none. Relievers Phil Maton (sixth), Rafael Montero (seventh), Hector Neris (eighth) and Ryan Pressly (ninth) closed the game with scoreless innings.

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