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Indians 3, Astros 1: Offense Still MIA, Wheels Come Off In Sixth

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Astros bats still quiet for third straight game in the series, fall to Tribe 3-1.

Hank Conger being congratulated by Jake Marisnick in the third inning after hitting a solo home run.
Hank Conger being congratulated by Jake Marisnick in the third inning after hitting a solo home run.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

What Happened

The Astros jumped out to a 1-0 lead by virtue of a third inning solo home run by Astros catcher Hank Conger, but otherwise the team's bats were largely silent for an uncharacteristic third straight game.  Brett Oberholzer pitched into the sixth inning but couldn't record an out there, and Cody Anderson needed just 79 pitches to breeze through the Astros lineup for 6.2 innings.  The Astros managed only three hits including Conger's home run, though Carlos Correa was able to snap an 0-14 skid with a single.

After cruising through five shut out innings with one walk and three strike outs, Brett Oberholzer gave up a home run to Indians rookie Francisco Lindor to lead off the sixth inning, followed by consecutive doubles from Michael Brantley and Ryan Raburn, and just like that Oberholzer was out of the game without having retired a hitter in the sixth.  Josh Fields entered and promptly allowed an RBI triple to Carlos Santana.

As has been the case more often than is probably desired this season, the Astros cost themselves an out on the bases when Preston Tucker was caught in no man's land between second and third in what appeared to be an ill-advised stolen base attempt.  Reportedly, Tucker mistakenly thought the count was 3-2 (it was actually 2-2) and was running on the pitch.  Tucker - who had worked a walk and advanced into scoring position on Correa's single to right field - was erased from the bases for the first out of the inning.  Luis Valbuena followed with a fly out to center field and Evan Gattis grounded out to second base and end the inning.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth, the Astros sent the top of their lineup - Jose Altuve, Preston Tucker, and Carlos Correa - to the plate to face the Indians' closer, Cody Allen.

Jose Altuve singled to left-center field, Preston Tucker laced a hot shot ground ball right to Carlos Santana at first base.  Santana made a good play and threw to second to erase the speedy Altuve, though Tucker beat the play at first to stave off the double play.  After Carlos Correa popped out weakly in foul territory to finish the series at an anemic 1-16, Luis Valbuena walked to put runners on first and second, and Evan Gattis stood in representing the winning run against the fireballer with the wicked split-fingered fastball.

Gattis, perfectly consistent with his approach, swung at the first pitch he saw at or just above the very top of the strike zone and popped it up on the infield.

The Astros will board a flight for Tampa Bay directly following the game and hope to find an answer to rouse the bats from their slumber versus the Devil Rays.

Fun Facts

  • The Astros were actually only outscored 13-12 by the Indians in the series, but the Indians still won the series 3 games to 1.
  • As written about here by Brian McTaggart, the Astros are looking for better production from their first basemen.  Chris Carter is mired in a 6-56 slump, and Jon Singleton is hitting .130 with just a .374 OPS thus far this season.
  • Cody Anderson only needed 71 pitches to get through 6 innings thanks to aggressively pitching to contact.  The Astros, the most prolific strikeout offense in baseball, only struck out two times in this game.

Tweets Of The Day

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/astros">@astros</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/brianmctaggart">@brianmctaggart</a> Well guys,the table is set! Let&#39;s eat... <a href="http://t.co/Vhr3aLOv6g">pic.twitter.com/Vhr3aLOv6g</a></p>&mdash; The Golden Voice (@rickeygodfrey) <a href="https://twitter.com/rickeygodfrey/status/619323207896600576">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/Indians">@Indians</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/astros">@astros</a> Separated at birth? <a href="http://t.co/EaDNnve3wZ">pic.twitter.com/EaDNnve3wZ</a></p>&mdash; Jordan Froomkin (@Jordan_Froomkin) <a href="https://twitter.com/Jordan_Froomkin/status/619319588786974720">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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And clearly, some Astros fans are frustrated by the sudden lack of offense:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/astros">@astros</a> we can&#39;t score to save our lives.</p>&mdash; Joshua Martin (@jrm11r) <a href="https://twitter.com/jrm11r/status/619313112127262720">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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But it's definitely not time to panic yet.  On to Tampa Bay!

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/astros">@astros</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/astros?src=hash">#astros</a> gonna take the bats to Tampa like they&#39;re Joe Pesci</p>&mdash; Arrogant Astros Fan (@Dierker4HOF) <a href="https://twitter.com/Dierker4HOF/status/619325729742786560">July 10, 2015</a></blockquote>
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