Astros edge Indians 3-2, sending Tribe to fifth straight loss
Myers pitches well as Tribe offense remains cold
By Jim Berdysz
April 19, 2013
HOUSTON - Frustrating is one way to put it. Baffling could be another.
Offensive woes continued for the Tribe Friday night, as Houston starter Lucas Harrell and the Astros edged out Cleveland to a 3-2 victory, sending the Indians to a season-high five game losing streak.
Things looked bleak early on, as starter Brett Myers gave up back-to-back homers in the second inning to Astros outfielders J.D. Martinez and Rick Ankiel to put Houston up 3-0. Little did the Tribe and Myers know, that would be all the runs the Astros would need as Cleveland would score three runs or less for their fifth consecutive game.
Harrell made just one mistake through his 5 2/3 innings of work, a two-run homer to third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2. Tribe hitters did make the Astros right-hander throw a lot of pitches as he gave up five walks in the contest, a potential encouraging sign for a stale Cleveland offense.
Facing his former club, Myers did settle in despite the early homers, giving up just two hits and striking out four over his final three frames. It was another solid start turned in for the 32-year old veteran, finishing the ballgame giving up just three runs over five innings, walking two and striking out four.
Home runs continue to hurt the Indians right-hander though as Myers (0-3, 8.02 ERA) has now given up a major league leading 10 homers in just over 21 innings this season.
It was the Tribe offense that was unable to pick up their starter again though, as the team was 0-for-7 on the night with runners in scoring position, leaving nine runners on base.
Cleveland also grounded into three crucial double plays in the ballgame, none bigger off the bat of first baseman Mark Reynolds in the eighth inning.
Facing former Indians reliever Hector Ambriz, right fielder Nick Swisher started the eighth with a leadoff double. With the game still 3-2, Tribe manager Terry Francona chose to stick with Jason Giambi instead of trying to bunt Swisher over to third base with a pinch hitter. Giambi popped out on the infield for the first out of the inning.
After catcher Carlos Santana walked putting runners on first and second, Reynolds chopped a 2-0 pitch on the infield for the inning ending double play.
Houston reliever Jose Veras, another former Indian, pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the year.
For Cleveland, they have now scored 11 runs over their last five games with a dismal team batting average of .206. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Tribe is just 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position over the last three games, and 2-for-27 over the five game losing skid.
Lefty Scott Kazmir will look to change all that on Saturday, as he makes both his Indians and season debut against Houston starter Philip Humber (0-3, 2.89 ERA). For Kazmir, it will be his first start in the major leagues since Apr. 3, 2011.
Notes: Second baseman Jason Kipnis returned to the Tribe lineup on Friday after missing the last five games. He went 2-for-4 at the plate.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.