HOUSTON -- Shortstop Erick Aybar put a bow on the Houston Astros' sloppy defensive showing with his two-run single in the ninth inning of the Los Angeles Angels' 4-2 victory Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
One at-bat after Peter Bourjos reached on a fielder's choice grounder that shortstop Ronny Cedeno didn't pursue hastily enough, Aybar slapped a 2-2 fastball from right-hander Hector Ambriz that scored Mark Trumbo and Josh Hamilton and doubled the Angels' output.
The Astros (30-50) surrendered a pair of unearned runs in advance of the ninth inning, with center fielder Brandon Barnes and Cedeno guilty of errors that enabled the Angles (37-43) to tie the game in the sixth inning and surge ahead in the eighth. Houston also had three runners erased on the base paths, one each in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.
Houston managed a modest rally against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri when Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez reached base to open the ninth. And while Frieri needed 29 pitches to do so, he ultimately recorded his 20th save of 2013 by retiring the three batters that followed Martinez.
Astros right-hander Bud Norris continued his exceptional pitching against the Angels this season, carrying a shutout into the sixth inning after limiting Los Angeles to one run over his three previous starts.
Norris was 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA against Los Angeles before Friday, and is the first pitcher ever to log at least six innings in each of his first three starts against the Angels while allowing one total run.
He set the Angels down in order in the first and third innings and pitched around base runners in the second, fourth and fifth with relative ease before Barnes' error allowed the Angels to score.
Barnes made a pair of spectacular defensive plays in the third inning. But he booted a leadoff single by Aybar in the sixth, allowing Aybar to take second on the play. Two batters later, Mike Trout laced a single over the outstretched glove of Jose Altuve at second, driving in Aybar and knotting the score at 1-1.
Houston had taken a 1-0 lead when catcher Jason Castro drilled his 11th home run to the back wall of the Astros' bullpen in right-center, a 425-foot shot off Angels right-hander Jerome Williams.
NOTES: Astros manager Bo Porter held right fielder Justin Maxwell out of the lineup despite Maxwell being cleared by team doctors after he had suffered a mild concussion Tuesday night against the Cardinals. Maxwell passed a battery of tests on Thursday but Porter opted to give Maxwell an additional day of rest. ... Angels outfielder Peter Bourjos followed a session in the cage with batting practice on Friday and remains day-to-day with a left thumb contusion suffered on Sunday.