CLEVELAND (AP) — Houston manager Bo Porter believes his team is making progress.
Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the Indians ended the longest trip of Houston’s season with a 5-5 mark. For a team that lost 111 games last season, Porter thinks that’s a sign of improvement.
“You look at 11-day road trip, three cities, these guys battled extremely hard,” he said. “Good trip and now let’s go back home and get the bats back going.”
The trip began with the Astros splitting four games in Boston. Houston then took two of three from the Yankees before scoring four runs in the ninth inning Friday to beat the Indians 5-1. The Astros lost on a walk-off hit Saturday and loaded the bases in the ninth Sunday before Dexter Fowler struck out to end the game.
“You’ve got to be happy with it,” Fowler said. “We played a bunch of good series. Some games just didn’t go our way but you’ve got to take that home and build on it.”
Jon Singleton’s RBI double in the eighth off Bryan Shaw scored Houston’s only run, but the Astros took closer Cody Allen, the Indians’ fourth pitcher, to the limit in the ninth.
Pinch-hitter Chris Carter drew a leadoff walk and took second on a one-out single by Jake Marisnick. Jose Altuve, the AL’s leading hitter, singled to load the bases with two outs, but Allen struck out Fowler to end his 29-pitch outing.
“To come out of this here road trip 5-5, with an opportunity we could have very well been 6-4, then you look at the way they battle the last half-inning there, those are some impressive, impressive at-bats in the ninth inning,” Porter said.
Brett Oberholtzer (4-9) allowed three runs in 6 2-3 innings. Carlos Santana’s sacrifice fly in the third put Cleveland ahead while Lonnie Chisenhall had an RBI single in the fourth. Jose Ramirez added an RBI single in the seventh.
“I gotta do a better job of shutting the inning down, closing it out,” Oberholtzer said. “They had a good approach and they were able to put the ball in play. I gave up a good fair share of hits, but I was disappointed in myself in not closing innings out.”
Indians starter Trevor Bauer took a shutout into the seventh. Carlos Corporan, the leadoff batter in the inning, hit a towering drive to right that was called foul as it curled outside the pole. Porter talked with the umpires, who reviewed the play but the call stood.
Corporan walked on the next pitch, ending Bauer’s day. Scott Atchison got pinch-hitter Jason Castro to hit into a double play.
The Astros are second in the majors in home runs since July 1 with 56, but homered only once in the series. Singleton hit a three-run shot off Allen in the ninth to seal Friday’s win.
GLAD TO BE LEAVING
Houston is 1-8 in its last nine games at Progressive Field. The Astros were swept in three games in late September last season in Cleveland.
Astros: RHP Brad Peacock (sore forearm) is expected to start Wednesday against Oakland. He was pulled after five innings Friday, but played catch Sunday.
Astros: RHP Scott Feldman (7-9) opens a three-game series at home against Oakland on Monday. He matched a career high with 121 pitches in defeating the Yankees in his last start.