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Morton, who was originally slated to start on Sunday against the A’s but had his start pushed back one day following a rainout, allowed five hits while walking two and striking out three. Morton needed 92 pitches to get through the outing and weaved in and out of trouble, but the Angels were unable to break through despite multiple scoring opportunities.
Jesse Chavez continued to reverse the early-season rotation woes by delivering the third consecutive strong start for the Angels, surrendering two runs on seven hits over seven innings. But the 33-year-old right-hander took his second loss.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Morton leaves them loaded: The Angels have been struggling to score runs recently, a trend that continued on Monday night when they left nine men on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position. In the second inning, the Angels loaded the bases with two out after Danny Espinosa laid down a bunt single, Martin Maldonado singled and Yunel Escobar walked. But they came away empty-handed after Morton coaxed a flyout to left field from Ben Revere.
Escobar’s costly error: After the Angels didn’t capitalize on their bases-loaded opportunity in the second, the Astros got on the board in the bottom half of the inning with the help of a throwing error by Escobar. Escobar fielded a ground ball by Evan Gattis, but then he made a wide throw to C.J. Cron at first, allowing Gattis to advance to second with one out. Alex Bregman followed with an RBI single, giving Houston a 1-0 lead.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
In the seventh, Norichika Aoki hit a chopper to Cron at first and initially seemed to beat out a 3-6-3 double play after first-base umpire D.J. Reyburn ruled safe at first. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia issued a challenge after replay review showed that shortstop Andrelton Simmons‘ throw had beaten Aoki to the bag. The call was ultimately overturned.
Angels: Right-hander Ricky Nolasco will make his fourth start of the season on Tuesday as the Angels continue their four-game series with the Astros at 5:10 p.m. PT. Nolasco has a 5.40 ERA this season and took the loss in his last outing on Thursday after allowing five runs over five innings against the Rangers.
Astros: Joe Musgrove will make his third start of the season and first against a team other than the Mariners on Tuesday when he faces the Angels at 7:10 p.m. CT. Musgrove (1-0, 4.35 ERA) has not pitched deep into a game this season, throwing only 10 1/3 innings over his two starts.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Texas and covered the Astros on Monday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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