HOUSTON — The Angels have been striking out all season, but they took it to a new level this weekend.
The Angels equaled a major league record by striking out 20 times in a 4-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Sunday afternoon, giving them 48 strikeouts in three-game sweep.
The Angels were the eighth team to strike out 20 times in a nine-inning game.
The Angels had a chance to avoid a nine-inning strikeout record by sending the game to extra innings, but Ryan Tepera gave up a two-run homer to Jeremy Peña with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Everyone in the Angels starting lineup struck out at least twice except for Luis Rengifo, who also provided one of their runs with a homer.
Mike Trout struck out two times, extending his drought to 0-for-14. He has struck out nine times in that span.
The Angels scored first on Rengifo’s homer in the second inning. In the third, they parlayed three walks and a Shohei Ohtani single into a run, but they had the bases loaded and one out and couldn’t score any more runs, because Rengifo and Michael Stefanic both struck out.
After that, the Angels didn’t even get a runner into scoring position.
They also had an inning end in embarrassing fashion. Taylor Ward singled and rounded first. He wasn’t paying attention as catcher Martin Maldonado crept in behind him. Second baseman José Altuve quickly threw the ball to Maldonado, who tagged Ward before he could get back to the base.
While the offense was quiet, the Angels pitched much better than they had in losing the first two games of the series.
Angels starter José Suarez was charged with two runs in 4-2/3 innings, a mostly encouraging outing as he takes a stronger hold on the rotation spot that he lost two months ago.
In his last three outings, Suarez has allowed three earned runs in 15 innings.
This was a particularly tough assignment against a sizzling Astros lineup in a hitter-friendly ballpark. Suarez did not allow a baserunner his first time through the Houston order, but he didn’t even make it through a second time.
In the fourth inning, Suarez gave up hits to the first three batters he faced, including a Peña homer. Suarez was spared more damage because left fielder Monte Harrison threw out José Altuve at second when he tried to stretch his single into a double.
Suarez retired the first two hitters in the fourth but acting manager Bill Haselman pulled him after he gave up a single to Chas McCormick. Reliever Oliver Ortega didn’t retire any of the three hitters he faced, allowing the Astros to tie the game, before José Quijada escaped the jam by getting Yordan Alvarez on a flyout.
More to come on this story.