Astros drop series with another 1-0 loss at Texas
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Houston Astros are wasting a lot of good pitching with their inability to score runs.
Brett Oberholtzer had a career-high seven strikeouts and allowed one run over seven innings in another solid start Sunday, but the Astros lost their second 1-0 game in three days at Texas to drop their 15th consecutive series against their instate AL West rivals.
“Oberholtzer was outstanding. Our starters did a tremendous job this whole series. The starts put us in a position to win every game,” Astros manager Bo Porter said. “We’ve got to get (the offense) going. If you don’t score, you’ve got zero chance of winning.”
The Astros, who have scored only four runs this season for Oberholtzer (0-3), got runs in only two of their 31 innings against Texas. They had a five-run fourth inning on Saturday before the winning run in the 10th.
Texas won the series opener 1-0 in 12 innings on Friday night after Yu Darvish was perfect thru five of his eight innings, and Astros starter Scott Feldman held the Rangers to two hits over seven scoreless innings.
“These are winnable games. We should have won them,” center fielder Dexter Fowler said. “Our starting pitching did an awesome job (in the series). You’ve got to tip your cap to the other pitcher, too.”
Martin Perez (2-0) threw eight scoreless innings with the help of four double-play grounders, plus two runners were thrown out trying to steal.
“That happens when you throw all your pitches down and you get a lot of ground balls,” Perez said. “If you can throw strikes with runners on base, you can get a win, you can get the outs. You have to make a pitch and trust your stuff.”
Alexi Ogando worked a perfect ninth to convert his first save chance.
Houston (5-8) will get its first off day of the season Monday before opening a three-game home set against Kansas City. The Astros are hitting .189 as a team.
The lone run Sunday came on a sacrifice fly in the sixth by Donnie Murphy, who was in the game only because shortstop Elvis Andrus was ejected at the end of the third after taking a called third strike. He tossed his bat away from the plate and then said something to home plate umpire Alan Porter.
Murphy’s deep flyball to the left-center gap in the sixth sent home Josh Wilson for the lone run of the game after Wilson and Shin-Soo Choo started the inning with consecutive singles.
It was only the 10th 1-0 victory for the Rangers in their 1,601 regular-season home games since moving into their current ballpark 20 years ago. This series was the first in Rangers history in which they had multiple 1-0 wins — home or away.
Prince Fielder finished 0 for 3, dropping his average to .149 through his first 12 games with the Rangers. The Astros used a drastic shift against him this weekend that took away several hits, including a sharp liner caught by second baseman Jose Altuve in shallow right to end the sixth on Sunday. Altuve fielded a grounder near that spot in the fourth.
Notes: It took only 44 seconds in the first inning for replay to overturn first base umpire Joe West’s call that Choo was safe. West had ruled that Altuve’s throw had pulled Jesus Guzman off first base. Porter came out, and replay showed that Guzman had stayed on the base, and Choo was out. ... Murphy played second base, and Wilson moved from second base to shortstop. ... Rain was falling when the game started, but the sun was out when it ended 2 hours, 15 minutes later. ... Andrus struck out in both of his at-bats, ending his season-opening, 11-game hitting streak that was the second longest in team history. Al Oliver had hits in the Rangers’ first 13 games in 1979.