HOUSTON (AP) — Jarred Cosart pitched a first inning to forget on Monday.
And as is often the case with these young Houston Astros, his struggles early against the Los Angeles Angels provided a teachable moment for manager Bo Porter.
C.J. Wilson pitched eight solid innings, Howie Kendrick and Raul Ibanez each drove in three runs and the Angels beat the Astros 9-1.
Cosart was done in by an opening inning in which he had to use 32 pitches. He was pulled after allowing three hits, five runs and walking four in six innings.
It was a disappointing second start for the 23-year-old who threw five scoreless frames for the win in his 2014 debut against the Yankees.
“I was proud of the job that he was able to do to get us through six innings,” Porter said. “I told him: `If you want to be a front-of-the-rotation guy in the major leagues you’re not going to have your `A’ stuff all the time. It’s not going to go right all the time. But the reason you’re in the front of the rotation is because you’re going to chew up innings even when you don’t have your good stuff.”
Cosart said he felt lethargic in the first inning and struggled to find his groove.
“I spotted them three runs and with a lineup like that and with a team like that you can’t do that,” he said. “It’s hard for our team to play from behind obviously. I kind of had us back on our heels.”
The Angels took three of four from Houston after starting the season 0-3.
Kendrick drove in two with a single in a three-run first inning. He added an RBI with a single when the Angels tacked on three more in the seventh.
Kole Calhoun homered off Jarred Cosart (1-1), sending a drive to right field for his second shot of the series to push the lead to 4-0 in the fifth inning.
Wilson (1-1) yielded four hits and a run while fanning seven. He looked a lot more like the 17-game winner he was last year than he did in his first start this season when he allowed eight hits and six runs in 5 2-3 innings of a loss to Seattle.
Houston struggled to get anything going off of him. Jesus Guzman doubled with one out in the second before Wilson retired nine in a row. A double by Chris Carter came with one out in the fifth inning, and Wilson sat down 10 straight after that. The Astros finally got on the board when Carlos Corporan launched a 76 mph curveball into the Crawford Boxes in left field for a home run that made it 8-1.
A pair of walks and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out in the first inning for Cosart. A broken-bat groundout by Ibanez sent one home to make it 1-0. Carter had to navigate around the flying piece of bat that stuck in the dirt right near where he fielded the ball.
Kendrick’s single to shallow right field pushed the lead to 3-0 in the first.
Cosart settled down after the first, pitching a perfect second before walking two in a scoreless third and retiring the side in the fourth.
“I think I was going too quick with my mechanics, just leaving stuff up and I was kind of all over the place,” Cosart said. “It took me three runs to get back locked in, which is too late.”
Ian Stewart hit a triple with one out in the sixth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Chris Iannetta that made it 5-0.
Ibanez drove home two with a single to right field off reliever Brad Peacock in the seventh.
NOTES: Houston CF Dexter Fowler was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game because of a stomach virus. Fowler, who spent Friday night at Methodist Hospital and was released Saturday, returned to the ballpark on Monday. He said he was feeling better but was still very weak. The already slim Fowler said he knows he has lost some weight but hadn’t stepped on the scale because he didn’t want to know how much he’d dropped. Porter isn’t sure when he’ll return to the lineup. … The Astros send LHP Brett Oberholtzer to the mound against Mark Buerhle when they open a series at Toronto on Tuesday.