ANAHEIM – For the first time in eight days, the Angels’ opposing pitcher Sunday will have no Cy Young Awards on his resumé. Facing Houston Astros pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. hardly represents a gift, but the Angels could use one after drawing Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw on either side of the All-Star break.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.Verlander did not allow a run over six innings Saturday as the Astros beat the Angels, 7-0, before an announced crowd of 44,264 at Angel Stadium.The Angels’ third consecutive loss left them below .500 for the first time since Opening Day. At 49-50, they are firmly entrenched in the lonely middle class of the American League. Within their own division the Angels are positioned almost equally between the third-place Oakland A’s (55-43) and the fifth-place Texas Rangers (41-57).That was not where the Angels hoped to end a three-game series against the first-place Astros (66-35). With the non-waiver trade deadline looming July 31, the Angels began the weekend with little reason to acquire short-term help with an eye toward the 2018 postseason. Now, they are even farther removed from the playoff hunt.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error With one out in the third inning, Alex Bregman hit a ground ball to Fletcher at third base. After diving to field the baseball, Fletcher had time to run to third base and force out the lead runner, Kyle Tucker. Instead he threw across the diamond to retire Bregman, putting runners on second and third base.After Tropeano walked Jose Altuve intentionally, Yuli Gurriel hit a sacrifice fly that allowed Tucker to tag up and score the game’s first run.Marwin Gonzalez reached on a fielding error by Andrelton Simmons in the fourth inning, advanced a base when first baseman Luis Valbuena couldn’t catch Tropeano’s throw to first base, and scored on a double by Tony Kemp. That run was unearned. Angels’ Mike Trout working on his defense, thanks to Twitter Jose Suarez’s rocky start sinks Angels in loss to Astros Angels’ Shohei Ohtani spending downtime working in outfield Angels offense breaks out to split doubleheader with Astros Angels’ poor pitching spoils an Albert Pujols milestone No amount of Rally Monkey leaps could bring the Angels back on Saturday. Houston did most of its damage in a five-run sixth inning. A grand slam by George Springer against reliever Noe Ramirez blew open a 3-0 game. The inning began when Josh Reddick hit a solo home run against Jose Alvarez and ended 26 minutes later when Reddick grounded into a double play.Relievers Joe Smith, Brad Peacock and Tony Sipp completed the game for Houston. A leadoff double by Shohei Ohtani and a single by Jose Briceño in the ninth inning gave the Angels runners on second and third base with one out. But Sipp retired Martin Maldonado and David Fletcher quietly, sealing the Angels’ sixth shutout loss of the season.Ohtani went 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Rookie David Fletcher also had a pair of hits. The rest of the Angels’ lineup went a combined 3 for 26, one day after Keuchel took a no-hitter into the seventh inning.Tropeano pitched well in his first start since a shoulder injury sent him to the disabled list in June. The right-hander allowed one earned run in five innings. He allowed two hits, walked four batters and struck out five.The Angels’ defense contributed to their early deficit.