Friday night’s game was a microcosm of the Astros season. Missed opportunities, bullpen meltdowns, and over-managing by Bo Porter all added up to a 9-5 loss to the Texas Rangers.
In addition to the two solo blasts, the Astros also plated a pair of runs in the fourth inning when L.J. Hoes, Jose Altuve, and Castro stroked consecutive doubles. But the Astros failed to capitalize on an opportunity to play add-on. With two runners on and only one out, the ice-cold combination of Chris Carter and Matt Dominguezstruck out to end the inning. Houston also failed to score in a similar situation in the seventh inning.
Then came the eighth. Porter used a total of five pitchers and the Rangers took advantage of their wildness that seemed to be contagious. Texas used four walks to plate four runs and take a 7-4 lead. The Astros had their chances in the bottom of the frame, sandwiching a pair of walks around a hit batsman to load the bases. But Porter elected to pinch hit Marc Krauss for Brandon Barnes, playing right into the hand of Rangers skipper Ron Washington.
The Rangers had lefty Neal Cotts ready in the bullpen to relieve a wild Tanner Scheppers — and sending Krauss to the plate made it academic. Cotts fanned Krauss to end an inning that took over an hour to complete and the excellent work done by Astros starter Erik Bedard seemed like a faint memory. The Rangers added two more runs in the ninth against former shortstop Jorge De Leon and the Astros fate was sealed.