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It was yet another example of what the Houston
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It was yet another example of what the Houston
Astros look like when their lineup depth flashes http://www.thejaguarsfootballauthentic.c...-authentic , their fourth win in their final at-bat this season offering a glimpse of potential even when everything didn’t quite fall into place.

As the Astros (51-27) near the halfway point of the schedule on Sunday against the Kansas City Royals, they recognize fully that they will require more wins like the one they recorded on Saturday to keep pace in the chase for the best record in the American League.

They were handcuffed by a scuffling pitcher for seven innings before the bottom third of their order helped complete a game-tying rally in the ninth.

And, while Houston failed to walk it off in the 11th, the bottom third of its order generated just enough traffic for the heavy hitters to come to bat in the 12th and secure the 4-3 victory.

Designated hitter Evan Gattis, batting seventh, produced the game-tying RBI with his sacrifice fly in the ninth inning following an 0-for-3 start to his evening. Marwin Gonzalez, batting eighth, walked in both of his final two plate appearances after recording three strikeouts against Royals starter Ian Kennedy. By churning out quality plate appearances, the job was easier up top.

“We’re at our best when those guys are doing something at the bottom T.J. Hockenson Jersey ,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “That takes a lot of pressure off the top of the order or the middle of the order to have to do it every time. That’s why we think we have a complete team.”

Right-hander Gerrit Cole (8-1, 2.59 ERA) will start the series finale for the Astros in the rubber match. Cole did not factor into the decision in his last start, a 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday, after allowing four runs on three hits and five walks with eight strikeouts over seven innings.

He made his lone start against the Royals on July 21, 2015, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings in a 3-2 loss at Kauffman Stadium when he pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Right-hander Jason Hammel (2-8, 4.88 ERA) gets the starting nod for the Royals. Hammel is 2-2 with a 2.85 ERA over nine career appearances (eight starts) against the Astros, including a 1.74 ERA over his last three starts. He hasn’t pitched at Minute Maid Park since 2014.

Hammel, who issued a season-high four walks in his previous outing Jahlani Tavai Jersey , has issued two or fewer walks in 11 of 15 appearances this season and is tied for fifth in the American League with 37 starts with two or fewer walks since the start of 2017. His four walks against the Texas Rangers snapped a 37-start streak of walking three or few batters dating back to May 29, 2017.

After delivering at the plate and in the field for the Royals (23-53) in the opener, right fielder Rosell Herrera had a quiet night on Saturday, going 0-for-4 with a walk. Claimed off waivers from Cincinnati on June 2, Herrera was recalled from Triple-A Omaha last Sunday and has worked to show the defensive range and offensive versatility that could make him an asset as the Royals take extended looks at some of the younger players on their major league roster.

“He’s athletic, he’s fast,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Herrera. “He seems to swing the bat OK from both sides. It’s only been a week. There’s a lot to like looking at him on a short look.”

If the Houston Astros are heading into a two-game series against rival Texas with the idea that they’ll be able to push around the rebuilding Rangers and get back on track after three straight losses, maybe it’s time to think again.

The Astros will send struggling left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.22 ERA) to the mound in the first game of the series on Tuesday at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Texas will counter with right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1 Will Harris Jersey , 3.57).

Houston lost three straight games in Tampa Bay last weekend, including a 3-2 setback on Sunday, and dropped its first series since May 28-30 at Yankee Stadium.

The Astros were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position on Sunday and 0-for-14 in the series. Houston managed just seven runs in the four-game series — all on homers, including two solo shots Sunday by Evan Gattis.

It was the Astros’ fewest runs in a four-game series on the road since they scored five at Tropicana Field against the Rays in 2014.

“We didn’t do enough to win the game or the series,” Astros manager AJ Hinch told mlb.com. “We made some mental errors, we had some big moments that they executed some pitches. One-run games, a couple of losses this series, are tough to swallow. We’ll take it to the next city, but this one sucks.”

The Rangers Austin Bryant Jersey , meanwhile, have been as hot as the triple-digit temperatures in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Texas is 12-6 since the Astros swept a four-game series from them in Arlington on June 7-10 and have won a season-best five straight series, including taking two of three games last weekend at home against the White Sox.

Texas ended that series with a 10-5 loss on Sunday in which ace starter Cole Hamels struggled, allowing a season-high seven earned runs and nine hits, which matched his high for the year.

Hamels, who has been the constant subject of trade talks for the past month, said afterward that he was blocking out that talk and it had no effect on his performance.

“It’s not a big deal. It’s out of my control,” Hamels said. “I have to go and pitch, and hopefully that’ll be the last time I have to answer that question.”

Keuchel took a no-decision in his last start on June 27 against Toronto Rashan Gary Jersey , allowing six runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of the Astros’ 7-6 comeback victory. He surrendered five runs in the first inning before settling in to pitch five scoreless innings.

Keuchel, the 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner and a 2-time All-Star (2015, 2017), will make his 18th start of the season and third against the Rangers this year. He is 9-9 with a 4.03 ERA in 25 career games, all starts, against Texas and is 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in 17 1/3 innings versus the Rangers in 2018.

Keuchel has not been as successful this season as over the past four seasons but he’s still inducing a high ground ball rate and soft contact. He leads the AL in groundball to fly-ball ratio (2.64), while ranking third in soft contact percentage (23.1 percent).

Bibens-Dirkx will make his fifth start of the season and his first start against the Astros. He’s coming off a no-decision against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, when he allowed two hits and struck out six in five scoreless innings in a game that San Diego won 3-2. Bibens-Dirkx is 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA at home this season.

Bibens-Dirkx was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock before his June 20 start against Kansas City for his second stint with Texas in 2018. He will be working on regular four days’ rest; the Rangers are 2-2 in his four starts this season.
06-06-2019 2:13
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