HOUSTON (AP) — Mike Trout watched as a low sinker entered the outside corner of the strike zone in Sunday’s third inning, then emerged again in a weekend of strikeouts.
Before he trudged back to the dugout, he made a face that seemed to scream, Yikes!
The Angels star went 0 for 11 with nine strikeouts in a three game run and the Los Angeles hitters fanned out a total of 20 times on Sunday when the Houston Astros won 4-2 to sweep.
“Mike Trout is a future Hall of Famer. He’s coming by,” said Angels acting interim manager Bill Haselman. “It’s too long a season to never have any problems. And everyone goes through it, even the best in the game. And he’s going through it now and we’re confident he’ll get out.”
Rookie Jeremy Peña homered twice, topped by a two run drive with two outs in the ninth inning off Ryan Tepera (1-2) to take the win.
Forel struckout seven in a row in the first two games. In the final, the three-time AL MVP reached base in his first at bat on an error by Pena at shortstop before striking out in his next two at bats.
Trout popped out in his last at bat to extend his slip to 0 for 14.
“This guy, when he’s on, is like a one-man wrecking crew,” said Houston manager Dusty Baker. “We pushed him hard and I’m sure he will make the adjustment if we get there very quickly.”
Trout is having another strong season, hitting .272 with 23 home runs and 47 RBIs, despite his second long slump of the year — he was a career-worst 0 for 26 before ending that drought on June 6.
Trout was far from the only Angel to struggle at the plate, as Houston-starter Framber Valdez and three relievers tied the Major League-record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game. Twelve different Angels batters came to the plate and they all struckout at least once.
“Guys are working on it, but it’s really hard when you see so many of them going through it at once,” said hit coach Jeremy Reed. “Usually it’s a guy here, a guy there and the next guy picks it up. But there’s just a lot of guys struggling at the same time.”
Valdez hit a career-high 13 in six innings, giving up two runs on three hits and five walks. Relievers Hector Neris and Rafael Montero each hit two in a scoreless inning and Ryan Pressly (2-2) fanned out three in the ninth.
There were several occasions when teams took out 20, including appearances from Max Scherzer, Roger Clemens and Kerry Wood. The Astros’ previous record was 18 in 1964 against Cincinnati.
Houston pitchers fanned out 47 in the series against the Angels.
Peña had four hits. In the ninth, Jose Altuve singled with two outs and Peña followed with his 11th homerun.
Peña hit a solo home run in the fourth off José Suárez.
Luis Rengifo homered in second in the Angels. Shohei Ohtani hit an RBI single in the third.
Altuve had an RBI single in the fifth to make it 2-all.
Haselman, the team’s coach, was the acting interim manager of the Angels on Sunday, while Ray Montgomery, who was the acting interim manager, and interim manager Phil Nevin served their suspensions for last week’s bench-clearing brawl. with the Marines. Haselman will also manage Tuesday’s game, while Montgomery serves the second game of his suspension.
Sunday was the sixth game of Nevin’s 10-game suspension.
Astros: LHP Parker Mushinski (elbow discomfort) pitched a live batting practice on Sunday. Manager Dusty Baker said he felt good after throwing 24 pitches, but they haven’t determined what the next step is for him yet.
The Angels selected the contract of 2B Michael Stefanic of Triple-A Salt Lake and appointed INF/OF Tyler Wade to the contract. Stefanic went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts in his Major League-debut before being relieved by Andrew Velazquez in the bottom of the sixth.
Astros: Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.13 ERA) will come off the injured list to start for Houston in Monday’s opener of a four-game series with the Kansas City Royals.
Angels: Los Angeles is off Monday before Noah Syndergaard (5-6, 3.86) takes on Sandy Alcántara (8-3, 1.96) in the opener of a three-game series in Miami.
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