Once again, Astros ace Bud Norris was too much for the Halos hitters to handle. Once again, the Houston defense made spectacular plays in the field to rob the Halos of opportunities. No play was more spectacular than the catch made by center fielder Brandon Barnes, who snagged a Hank Conger line drive in the third inning while running full speed into the center field wall.
Not content to deny one line drive, Barnes closed out the third with a diving catch on J.B. Shuck‘s flare to center.
What made last night different from the Halos’ seven losses to the Astros this season is that they stood tall in the face of adversity and put together a timely effort to win the game after trailing 1-0 through five innings.
Two developments in particular should bring a smile to the faces of the Angel faithful. First, Jerome Williams, who has started in nine of his 20 outings this season, made a strong case for his continued presence in the Los Angeles rotation, a position he will occupy for at least the next three weeks while Jason Vargas recovers from surgery.
The right hander gave up just one run and five hits through 6.1 innings, keeping the Angels (37-43) in the game long enough for the offense to find its groove.
The second reason for optimism came in the form of Josh Hamilton‘s 2-3 performance. After hitting rock-bottom last week when his average stood at a pitiful .207, the slugger in whom the Angels had placed so much hope has gone 7-for-16 (.438) in his last four games.
He also recorded his first extra-base hit in nearly two weeks when he doubled to left field in the second inning. His 10 home runs on the year are still not nearly enough for the hefty salary the Angels are paying him, but his four-game hitting streak is a welcome development nonetheless.
The Angels are still six games below .500 and have their work cut out for them. Though it will be a long road back to contention, the Halos are showing promise. Now let’s see if that promise can be sustained.
Tony Baker is a Los Angeles Angels blogger for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter at @tonloc_baker.