Lindor admires long home run
(c) Associated Press
For the second straight night, the Astros lost a one-run game in Cleveland against the defending American League champs. Given the match-up, this one was maybe closer than it should have been. Mike Fiers (5.40 ERA and 1.53 WHIP) was going against Cleveland ace Corey Kluber while Jose Altuve and George Springer were both on the bench nursing injuries.
Despite the dire circumstances the Astros came out swinging -- loading the bases in the first inning only to be turned away scoreless thanks to a leaping catch at the wall by rightfielder Abraham Almonte. In the second, Marwin Gonzalez got the 'Stros on the board first with his fourth home run of the season.
Edwin Encarnacion tied the score in the bottom of the frame, hammering Fiers' first offering over the centerfield wall for his fourth dinger of the year.
The Astros got two more runs in the third. Carlos Correa led off with a double and, after a Brian McCann single, Evan Gattis drove in the go-ahead run with a grounder through the left side. Alex Bregman made it 3-1 with a Texas-leaguer into shallow right that brought McCann home.
Cleveland closed to within a run when Almonte drove the first pitch of the fifth inning over the wall in center. After a double by Yan Gomes and a groundout advanced the tying run to third base with only one out, Fiers was relieved by Chris Devenski. Houston's deadliest bullpen weapon retired Francisco Lindor on a hard liner to first and got Michael Brantley to fly out to end the threat.
Devenski pitched around an error by Josh Reddick in the sixth by striking out three straight batters. But in the seventh, Lindor got a second chance against Devo and smacked a two-run homer to rightfield to put the Tribe on top 4-3.
Altuve came off the bench to pinch-hit leading off the ninth and beat out an infield hit before being gunned down trying to steal. Reddick and Carlos Beltran followed with line-drive singles but were left stranded on the corners by Correa and McCann. Missed opportunities were the order of the day as the Astros were able to score only three runs despite getting 11 hits and four walks.
The Astros finish the road trip with a 3-3 record and head back to Minute Maid Park for a seven-game homestand that includes three games against the Athletics and four against the Rangers. Charlie Morton gets the start in Friday's 7:10 tilt against Jharel Cotton and the A's.
- Greg Thurston