HOUSTON (AP) — Lucas Harrell’s season debut was a forgettable one.
Hampered by control issues against a hard-hitting lineup, Harrell was rocked by Mike Trout and the Los Angeles Angels, who scored five runs in three innings en route to an 11-1 win Friday night over Houston.
“I thought my stuff was good, I just didn’t locate,” Harrell said. “With a lineup like that, they have so many good hitters you can’t leave the ball over the plate like that.”
Trout homered in the first, and Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun also played long ball in the latter innings to help the Los Angeles Angels get their first win of the season Kicking off his third full season with the Astros, Harrell (0-1) had hoped for better. He had won his 2012 debut and gave up only one run in six innings in his 2013 debut, a home loss to Texas.
But with Harrell’s fastball finding its way over the plate, the Angels made him pay.
“I feel they did a good job with the balls that were left up in the zone,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “They were patient with their at-bats.”
Harrell’s five earned runs came on seven hits. He also walked three and struck out three.
The loss was the Astros’ second straight after winning two out of three against the New York Yankees to open the season.
Harrell was not alone in his struggles. Right-hander Jerome Williams gave up six more runs, including a three-run homer by Hamilton in the sixth and a two-run blast by Calhoun in the seventh.
“The innings he gave us actually saved the rest of our bullpen,” Porter said.
Neither pitcher enjoyed much run support. Jose Altuve had two hits and a bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning off Garrett Richards.
The Astros loaded the bases in the fifth and sixth innings but were only able to get the one run as Richards struck out Marc Krauss to end the fifth and Fernando Salas struck out Marwin Gonzalez and induced an Alex Presley ground out to end the sixth.
Richards (1-0) allowed one run on three hits with five walks and seven strikeouts in five innings Harrell’s troubles started early. Trout, the second hitter of the night, took Harrell deep to left field for a two-run blast in the first, and things never improved for the 28-year-old pitcher.
“You go from one hitter to the next, and there is no let-up,” Harrell said. “That’s why they are so good. You have to execute your pitches every time.”
Harrell walked a run in the second and came undone in the third, allowing back-to-back RBI doubles to Howie Kendrick and Chris Iannetta as the Angels added three more runs.
“It’s over with,” Harrell said. “It’s on to the next start. I’ll work on things I didn’t do well and get better for the next start.”
NOTES: Astros outfielder Dexter Fowler was out of the lineup and not at the park because of a stomach illness. Fowler was in the hospital with the stomach issue and having tests run, Porter said after the game, and Porter said he would have more details Saturday. Through three games, Fowler is hitting .500 with a home run and three RBIs. He recorded his third consecutive multi-hit game Thursday night. … Houston catcher Jason Castro was out with a bruise on his right foot but said he feels much better on Friday. Castro is day to day. … Aybar got his 900th career hit with the single in the seventh. He became the third Angels shortstop to reach that mark joining Jim Fregosi and Gary DiSarcina. … Houston will send left-hander Dallas Keuchel to the mound against Los Angeles left-hander Tyler Skaggs in the second game of the four-game series.