Astros lose, set franchise record for losses

Astros lose, set franchise record for losses
September 25, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Bo Porter on 108 losses: 'It's up to us to fix this'

The Astros aren’t ending their season the way they would like, with the defeats continuing to mount. The Astros lost their season-high 12th straight game on Wednesday, 7-3 to the Texas Rangers, setting a franchise record for losses in a season at 108. With the three-game series sweep, the Rangers improved to 17-2 on the season against the Astros and have won 11 straight games against Houston. Brandon Laird’s two-run home run in the fourth inning was the highlight for the Astros, who end their season with a three-game home series against the Yankees starting on Friday.

TURNING POINT

After the Astros took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning, the Rangers answered with a five-run fourth inning. All of the Rangers’ runs in the inning came after there were two outs with seven straight Rangers reaching base. With the Astros up by two runs, the Rangers had runners on first and second and two outs when Houston starter Dallas Keuchel hit Craig Gentry with two strikes, loading the bases. The next batter Leonys Martin cleared the bases with a double, giving the Rangers a 4-3 lead.

STARTING PITCHING

Keuchel (6-10) had the slider going early and didn’t allow a hit until two outs in the fourth inning. But Jeff Baker’s single was the catalyst of a five-run inning that gave the Rangers a 6-3 lead. Keuchel was chased form the game after Ian Kinsler’s solo home run with two outs in the sixth put the Rangers ahead 7-3. Prior to Kinsler’s home run, Keuchel had retired six straight batters, including four straight strikeouts before Kinsler’s home run. In 5 2/3 innings Keuchel allowed seven runs, six earned, and six hits with five strikeouts and three walks. Keuchel, who entered the game fourth in major league baseball in ground ball to fly ball ratio, recorded six ground-ball outs through two innings.

Martin Perez (10-5) was aided by Texas’ five-run fourth inning in earning the win. In seven innings the left-hander allowed three runs, all in the fourth, and six hits with eight strikeouts and one walk.

IN THE BULLPEN

Jorge De Leon retired the Rangers in order in the eighth inning in his only inning. Rhiner Cruz replaced Keuchel with two outs in the sixth. Cruz did not allow a run in 1 1/3 innings.

Jason Frasor, who relieved Perez, and Joakim Soria both pitched a scoreless inning.

AT THE PLATE

Jose Altuve and Chris Carter had two hits each for Houston. Laird’s two-run home run to deep center off Perez put the Astros ahead 3-1 in Houston’s three-run fourth. Laird’s 404-foot home run, his fifth of the season, was just out of the reach of center fielder Martin, who barely got a glove on the ball. Carter’s single scored Altuve, who led off the inning with his ninth double of the month, to tie the game 1-1.

Kinsler, who had a solo home run in the sixth inning, had two hits, two runs and two RBIs. The Rangers sent 10 batters to the plate in the five-run fourth inning off Keuchel that gave the Rangers a 6-3 lead. All five runs came after two outs. The big blow was a three-run double by Martin that put the Rangers ahead 4-3.

IN THE FIELD

Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez made two fine defensive plays. Dominguez made a diving stop on Kinsler in the first inning, and Dominguez made a spinning throw to get Adrian Beltre out at first base for the first out of the fourth inning.

Shortstop Jonathan Villar committed a throwing error on a ball hit by Gentry, leading off the third. Gentry scored on a two-out fielder’s choice to tie the game 1-1.

UP NEXT

After an off day on Thursday, the Astros conclude their 2013 season at Minute Maid Park with three games against the New York Yankees. The Astros pitching rotation for the series Friday-Sunday respectively is LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-4, 2.71 ERA), Paul Clemens (4-6, 5.69 ERA) and LHP Erik Bedard (4-12, 4.81 ERA).

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