The Astros dropped the third game of their four game series with the Indians tonight, losing a tight back and forth game by a run 6-5. The loss keeps the Astros two games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the second wildcard playoff spot.
The teams traded the lead back and forth in the early innings. The Indians nicked Astros starter Doug Fister for a run in the bottom of the second inning, but the Astros responded with a run of their own in the top of the third. George Springer doubled to start the inning, and Jose Altuve drove him home from third with his second single of the night.
The Indians added another run in the bottom of the third, but the Astros responded again. Yuli Gurriel led off the top of the fourth inning with a single. Next up was Colby Rasmus, and he smoked a first pitch fastball for his 14th #ColbyJack of the season.
Fister managed to hold the Indians scoreless in the bottom of the fourth, but couldn't get out of the fifth. Fransisco Lindor singled, and Mike Napoli followed with a long home run to left that once again put the Indians out front. Two more Indians hits chased Fister as A.J. Hinch went with the bullpen.
The Astros broadcast showed a stat that it was the seventh straight game in which the Astros starter didn't make it through five innings. Even with an expanded roster, having to go to the bullpen early yet again meant Hinch wasn't going with his strongest option. Kevin Chapman came in and allowed a two-RBI double to pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer that expanded the Indians lead to 6-3.
The bullpen did manage to keep the Indians scoreless after the fifth inning, giving the Astros offense a chance to get back in the game.
A big swing from Yuli Gurriel got the Astros back within a run in the eighth inning. After Jose Altuve grounded out, a double by Evan Gattis chased Indian's starter Carlos Carrasco from the game. The Indians went with top reliever Andrew Miller, who Gurriel greeted by mashing a slider out to left for his first home run in the majors.
That was as close as the Astros could get. Pinch-hitter Tony Kemp led off the top of the ninth with a single, but the next three Astros struckout to end the game.
A tight game, a close game, maybe a game the Astros could have won. It's still been a good road trip, but this was a missed opportunity to gain ground with other American League contenders losing early in the day. The Astros will enter tomorrow's day game looking to respond and end the road trip on a high note.