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Angels now 2-8 on season after 5-0 loss

Saturday - 4/13/2013, 3:23am  ET

Houston Astros' Marwin Gonzalez is tagged out steals second by Los Angeles Angels second baseman Howard Kendrick during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Friday, April 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

JOE RESNICK
Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The pitching has been poor, the defense suspect and the offense spotty for the Los Angeles Angels.

And now, they're making mental mistakes on top of it.

Josh Hamilton forgot the number of outs in the ninth inning and was doubled up at first base on Mark Trumbo's foul pop to Houston catcher Jason Castro on Friday.

It was a fitting end to another frustrating night by the Angels, who extended their losing streak to five games with a 5-0 loss to the Astros.

"That's obviously a bad play. That's a mental mistake," manager Mike Scioscia said. "As perfect as players try to play, and as hard as they try to play, unfortunately mental mistakes are occasionally going to creep into the scenario. We've seen it from other teams, and unfortunately it got us tonight.

And Josh knows it. He's accountable. He knows he messed up. So we're going to move on. It's a mental mistake. It happens. It's obviously ugly when it happens, and we're going to move on. That's it."

The Angels, coming off a three-game sweep by Oakland, are off to a 2-8 start -- matching the worst in franchise history.

The inaugural 1961 club also lost eight of its first 10.

"This is a very long season, and as soon as you start pointing fingers and getting down, that's not going to help anybody," starter Tommy Hanson said. "I feel like maybe a couple of guys are pressing here and there, but we're going to be fine.

"I have no worries about this team, and I don't think the majority of this team does. I don't think there is one specific thing that has gone wrong. We're just not clicking yet. But once we do, I don't see anyone standing in our way."

Hanson (1-1) threw 108 pitches through five innings, giving up five runs, eight hits and two walks.

The Angels, who have a $148.5 million payroll, have had their starters struggle on this homestand.

Hanson, C.J. Wilson, Joe Blanton and Jason Vargas have allowed 20 earned runs, 34 hits, four homers and 10 walks in 21 2-3 innings.

Right-hander Jered Weaver is on the disabled list for at least a month because of a broken bone in his left arm.

So Garrett Richards will come out of the bullpen to make his first start of the season on Saturday night.

Hanson gave up hits to his first four batters and threw 27 pitches before retiring anyone.

Jose Altuve singled and came all the way home on a drive to right-center by Justin Maxwell, who was thrown out trying for a triple. TV replays showed that umpire Laz Diaz got the call wrong, as Luis Jimenez took the relay throw from second baseman Howie Kendrick and applied the tag after Maxwell's foot hit the bag.

Castro and Chris Carter followed with singles, and both runners advanced when Hanson attempted to pick off Castro and shortstop Brendan Harris mishandled the throw for an error. A full-count walk to Carlos Pena loaded the bases for J.D. Martinez, who struck out. But Rick Ankiel grounded a two-run single just past shortstop on Hanson's 35th pitch, giving Houston a 3-0 lead.

Bud Norris (2-1) pitched three-hit ball over seven innings, Ankiel had three RBIs and Maxwell hit his first home run of the season in the Astros' first meeting with the Angels as AL West rivals.

"It's going to be tough," Norris said. "They're no joke as a team. We all know they can do a lot of things, and we've got to do a lot of the little things to make sure we don't give them big innings. That's a tough lineup, and we know that."

Norris struck out five and walked two in his 100th big league start, helping the Astros win their third in a row after six straight losses.

Rookie manager Bo Porter used three relievers in the ninth to clinch the combined four-hitter.

Singles by Brendan Harris, Trumbo and Hank Conger were their only hits against Norris.

"He was pounding the zone," Scioscia said. "When you get a lead like that, that's what you like to see your pitcher do -- and he certainly did. He threw some sliders on off-counts. We did hit some balls hard, but they ran them down. For the most part, he was going to make us earn any hit in any opportunity we had, and unfortunately we couldn't get enough pressure on him."

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