HOUSTON -- Coming off a successful West Coast road trip, the Astros hoped to continue their postseason charge at Minute Maid Park against the Angels, a team they had beaten 11 times in a row. The Angels instead have put a huge dent in Houston's playoff hopes.
The Angels rallied for four runs in the eighth inning against Houston's weary bullpen, tagging reliable right-hander Chris Devenski for three runs, to beat the Astros for the third night in a row, 10-4, at Minute Maid Park.
"Obviously, it's tough," said Astros right fielder George Springer, who had four hits. "This is a tough stretch for us, but that's a good team over there. You can never count them out. They're always going to play us tough, and they have the last three days. We're going to come out tomorrow and it has to happen."
The loss dropped the Astros three games behind the Orioles for the second Wild Card spot with only seven remaining, including Sunday's finale of the four-game series. Houston also trails Detroit by 2 1/2 games and Seattle by a half-game in the standings.
"This season's not over," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We're going to continue to bounce back and try to get us a win tomorrow. This is not how we drew up the start of this homestand, it's not something that maybe is expected, but we can't do anything about it. We have to show up for work tomorrow and put our best foot forward to try to get a win."
The Angels, who scored once in the eighth and six times in the ninth to pull out a win Friday, rallied again in the eighth behind RBI singles from Kole Calhoun, Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to tie the game, and C.J. Cron scored Trout from third on a sac fly to a diving Jake Marisnick in center to make it 5-4.
"It's not like we're out of it," Trout said. "We're trying to be spoilers. We're trying to win every game we play. We're playing teams down the stretch that are in the playoff hunt still, especially these guys. … Every chance we get to drive in some runs, put some runs on the board, it helps us."
Astros starter Brad Peacock held the Angels to one hit and one run in five innings, and the Astros took a 4-1 lead in the sixth when Springer had an RBI triple and scored on a single by Yulieski Gurriel. Devenski worked a scoreless sixth and struck out the side in the seventh before the Angels rallied in the eighth, then broke it open with a five-run ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pujols passes Bonds: Pujols continued his history of dominance at Minute Maid Park, making some history along the way. Pujols' RBI double in the fourth, which cut the Angels' deficit to 2-1, was No. 602 in his career, giving Pujols one more than Barry Bonds for 15th-most in Major League history. More >
"What an unbelievable career," Trout said. "We're lucky to have him in our clubhouse, on our team. What he brings to the park every day. He plays with such heart and goes out there every day banged up, and he still produces."
Bullpen falters again: After giving up eight runs in four innings Friday, the Astros' bullpen was roughed up again. Devenski was hit for three runs in 2 1/3 innings, ending his scoreless streak at 11 appearances. Luke Gregerson followed Devenski and allowed a pair of singles before throwing a wild pitch, which proved costly when Cron followed with a sacrifice fly to score Trout to put the Angels ahead. Jandel Gustave, Kevin Chapman and Pat Neshek struggled in the Angels' five-run ninth. More >
"This is a good bullpen," Hinch said. "They've carried us for most of this month and certainly not the last couple of nights. They've had tough days at work. I certainly stand behind these guys. They've done everything we've asked."
Angels rally again: Offense was hard to come by for the Angels -- until the eighth. In the first seven innings, the Angels got only one run on three hits, striking out 12 times. In the final two innings, they notched an incredible nine runs on 10 hits -- six singles and four doubles -- to take a commanding lead.
"The guys had seen [Devenski] for a second time and that helps a little bit, but he's tough," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't know if he pitched that badly, but we definitely had some good at-bats and got some of the balls to fall in that hadn't been."
Springer bangs 'em out: Springer tied a career high with four hits, including an RBI triple in the seventh inning. The only out he made came on a scorching line drive to third base in the third. It was his second four-hit game of the season (Aug. 19 at Baltimore) and raised his average to .255 following a 30-game stretch heading into Saturday in which he hit .188.
"Your strive for a championship never ends, even if you're eliminated like we are. We're playing every day hopefully to move forward a little bit, get better and keep working toward our goal next year. You can never shut it off. You have to keep playing hard, playing aggressively. The fact we got a couple wins here helps us as a team moving forward, but we've got a lot work ahead of us." -- Scioscia
In the bottom of the fourth, Scioscia challenged whether or not Jason Castro reached first on a slow chopper to Yunel Escobar. After 47 seconds, the call that Castro was safe was overturned, with Escobar just barely getting the ball into Cron's glove in time.
Hinch won a challenge in the fifth inning, getting a call overturned at first base. Gurriel was originally called out at first base on what would have been a 1-4-3 double play, but replay showed he beat the relay throw to first for a fielder's choice.
Hinch lost a challenge at first in the eighth when Escobar beat out an infield single.
WHAT'S NEXT Angels:Daniel Wright will look to break his losing streak Sunday in an 11:10 a.m. PT start. The Angels have lost each of the right-hander's three starts since the club claimed Wright (0-4, 7.36 ERA) off waivers from Cincinnati on Sept. 4.
Astros: Rookie Joe Musgrove takes the hill at 1:10 p.m. CT. Musgrove (3-4, 4.42 ERA) has been tremendous at Minute Maid Park, allowing just six runs in 29 innings (1.86 ERA) in five appearances.