Two Out Hits Not Enough as Houston Shuts Down Tribe; Astros 3, Indians 1
Mike B. | On 15, Sep 2014
Two out hits are the kind of thing a team needs to be successful, but not only two out hits.
That was the case for the Indians on Monday evening in Houston, as they managed to register just seven hits in the game, all with two outs. Collin McHugh scattered five hits over six and two-third innings to best the Indians Zach McAllister and give the Astros a 3-1 victory. McHugh allowed just an unearned run, while Jose Altuve drove in a two of Houston’s runs while scoring the final tally.
The Indians were able to take advantage of some poor defense by the Astros in the top of the first inning. Michael Bourn started the game with a ground ball to second base, but when Altuve threw to Marc Krauss, the throw bounced off Krauss’ glove. Krauss was charged an error and Bourn advanced to second base. Jose Ramirez bunted him to third base and after Michael Brantley struck out Carlos Santana singled to through the shift to right field to give the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
McAllister set down the first five Astros before Jason Castro singled in the bottom of the second inning. It was the third inning when Houston was able to get to McAllister and tally some offense. Gregorio Petit singled with one out to left field and Robbie Grossman doubled off Brantley’s glove in left field to put a pair in scoring position with just one out. It appeared Brantley may have misjudged the amount of room he had before the wall, causing the ball to glance off his glove. Altuve—the American League’s top hitter—made the Indians pay with a single to center field that scored both runs and gave Houston a 2-1 lead after three innings.
After the unearned run in the first inning, McHugh (10-9) settled down to scatter base hits and strikeouts the rest of the way. Except for a double to Michael Brantley in the top of the third, McHugh only allowed four singles, while striking out seven. All five hits by the Tribe were with two outs, making it tough to muster much of a rally. The unearned run was his only blemish as he did not walk an Indian in six and two-third innings.
McAllister (3-7) was just a little worse, pitching six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out six. He, too, did not issue a walk. McAllister pitched very well in his first start in the Indians rotation since his July 31 demotion to Triple-A Columbus.
Kevin Chapman finished the seventh inning and retired the first two outs in the eighth before Brantley singled for the Tribe’s sixth two-out hit of the game. Samuel Deduno came on to retire Santana and end any threat.
Scott Atchison started the bottom of the eighth inning for the Tribe, but Altuve dropped a leadoff triple down the right field line and scored on a sacrifice fly from Dexter Fowler to make it 3-1, Houston. Kyle Crockett came on to get the final out for Cleveland.
Chad Qualls pitched an uneventful ninth, registering his 18th save of the season for Houston.
Altuve’s 3-for-4 night led Houston, while upping his AL-best batting average to .342. The Astros had nine hits, including a pair each from Castro and Petit. Altuve and Brantley, two of the best hitters in the American League, stood out in the game. Brantley was the only Indian to register a multi-hit game on the evening. The Weary Wahoos logged only seven hits in the game.
Cleveland drops to 76-73 on the season, while Houston improves to 67-83.
Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images