The Houston Astros had a chance to take two of three from the Texas Rangers on Sunday, but couldn't find the big hit to take a lead. Bo Porter's club finished 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and was still right there with Texas despite a so-so outing from Erik Bedard.
Bedard's first inning was downright ugly. After issuing walks to Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz, the Astros lefty hung a curveball to A.J. Pierzynski, who deposited a fly ball over the right-center field fence to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. Bedard cleary didn't have his best stuff on Sunday, but he battled through 6.1 innings and only surrendered one more run, an Adrian Beltre solo shot, before being pulled. Also credit to the Paul Clemens and Wesley Wright tandem, which coughed up a four-run lead on Saturday, for not allowing a run to cross in their combined 1.2 innings.
It was definitely a Sunday lineup for the Astros - featuring no Chris Carter or Jason Castro (both pinch-hit unsuccessfully late in the game). But offense was still produced in the form of Marc Krauss early. The rookie outfielder was impressive in this series, picking up his first career RBI on Saturday and then blasting his first career home run, a two-run shot to center, on Sunday.
Krauss' bomb cut the Rangers' lead to 3-2 in the second and a J.D. Martinez (3-for-4) RBI single cut the Rangers lead to one again in the fourth at 4-3. The Astros best chance to put up a big number came in an ugly fifth for the Rangers. Brandon Barnes and Matt Dominguez started the frame of with back-to-back singles, and then moved to second and third, respectively, on a throwing error by Rangers' pitcher Justin Grimm.
It appeared the Astros were trying to safety squeeze bunt Barnes home, but when batter Jake Elmore pulled the bat back, Barnes was way off the third base bag. Texas' Pierzynski threw down to third, but Jurickson Profar just took his eye off the ball and it sailed into left field, allowing Barnes to score. Elmore finished his plate appearance with a walk and Houston had runners on first and third with nobody out.
But the inning finished with no more Astros runs as Jose Altuve popped out and Brett Wallace struck out while Elmore was caught stealing for the third out. Five pitchers out of the Rangers bullpen combined to allow only two hits in five scoreless innings to finish the game.
Houston is off Monday, but will travel to St. Louis on Tuesday for a solid pitching match up of Bud Norris and Adam Wainwright.