Astros fold in spoiler role, swept by Indians

Astros fold in spoiler role, swept by Indians
September 22, 2013, 3:45 pm
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Porter: 'We're going to fight all the way to the end'

Sep 19, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera (right) scores before a tag by Houston Astros catcher Carlos Corporan (22) in the fourth inning at Progressive Field.

(David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)

It was a lost weekend for the Astros, who are enduring a season to forget.

The Indians’ 9-2 win on Sunday completed a four-game series sweep and handed the Astros (51-105) a season-high ninth straight defeat. Chris Carter hit his team-leading 29th home run leading off the second inning and starter Erik Bedard was outstanding the first three innings, but the highlights were few for the Astros, who are 0-7 in the role of spoiler as the season winds down. Three teams this season have lost 10 straight games (White Sox, Twins, Padres) and two other teams (White Sox and Marlins) have lost nine straight. The Astros head to Arlington for a three-game series with the Texas Rangers, who have a 14-2 record against the Astros this season.

TURNING POINT

The Indians used a three-run fourth inning to take the lead, and a four-run sixth inning to put the game away.

STARTING PITCHING

Erik Bedard (4-12), who was staked to a 2-0 lead, looked great after three scoreless innings, getting five of his eighth strikeouts. But he labored in a three-run fourth inning and after not getting an out while facing three batters in the sixth, he was relieved by Philip Humber. In five-plus innings Bedard allowed six runs and eight hits with two walks. Bedard retired the side in order the first two innings with four strikeouts. His ERA in the first inning this season was a major-league worst 9.26.

Corey Kluber (10-5) hasn’t lost since June 27, winning his last four decisions in 11 starts without a defeat. The right-hander doesn’t go deep into games and he didn’t on Sunday, going 5 1/3 innings. Kluber allowed only two runs and six hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

IN THE BULLPEN

Philip Humber was one of two Houston relievers. In two innings the right-hander allowed two runs and four hits. Jorge De Leon allowed a Carlos Santana home run in the ninth.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona managed the game like it was the seventh game of the World Series, using seven relievers, as he managed by the book in the latter innings.

AT THE PLATE

Marc Krauss had two doubles, giving him four for the series, and Matt Dominguez had two hits for the Astros. Carter led off the second inning with a towering 389-foot home run down the left-field line that opened the scoring. Carter’s 29th home run of the season was his second in two at-bats. The Astros first baseman homered in the ninth inning in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Indians. The Astros took a 2-0 lead in the fourth after Krauss scored when Trevor Crowe hit into a bases-loaded double play.

Michael Brantley and Jason Kipnis had three hits each to lead a 13-hit assault on Houston pitching. Brantley and Mike Aviles drove in two runs each and former Astro Michael Bourn had a two-run triple in Cleveland’s four-run sixth inning. Carlos Santana homered and doubled.

IN THE FIELD

Right fielder L.J. Hoes made contact with center fielder Brandon Barnes but Barnes held onto the ball and made the catch for the second out of the second inning on a ball hit by Ryan Raburn.

ON THE BASES

Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar was thrown out twice by catcher Yan Gomes. After opening the game with a single to left field, Villar was thrown out by Gomes trying to steal second base. Gomes picked Villar off first base for the third out of the fifth inning with the Astros trailing 3-2.

UP NEXT

On Monday the Astros open a three-game series with Texas, which is a crucial series for the Rangers, who are fighting for a wild-card spot. Right-hander Jordan Lyles (7-8, 5.26 ERA) will start for Houston on Monday vs. LHP Derek Holland (9-9, 3.48 ERA). On Tuesday, RHP Brad Peacock (5-5, 5.24 ERA) will go for Houston vs. RHP Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.81 ERA). In Wednesday’s series finale, LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-9, 4.99 ERA) of the Astros will oppose LHP Martin Perez (9-5, 3.54 ERA).

All three games will be televised on CSN Houston.