Astros Shutout In 2-0 Loss To Kansas City

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

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June 19, 2012

The same could not be said of the Astros' offense, whose
inability to hit in the clutch proved most detrimental in a 2-0
loss to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night.
Rodriguez recovered from a shaky start to post a quality outing,
but it didn't help the Astros that Royals starter Luke Hochevar
pitched even better.
Hochevar pitched 7 2-3 innings and combined with relievers Aaron
Crow and Jonathan Broxton for the Royals' seventh shutout win of
the season and first since June 5 against Minnesota.
Hochevar (4-7) gave up five hits and four walks, and struck out
six to snap a winless streak at six starts.
"(Hochevar) had some good stuff," said Astros third baseman
Chris Johnson, who was 2-for-4. "But we have to come up with big
hits and we didn't do that."
Rodriguez (6-5) went seven innings, allowing the Royals' two
runs on six hits. He struck out three and walked two.
"When I started the game, I was a little bit in trouble with my
location, but later in the game I got it (back)," Rodriguez said.
"I was missing my spot (early on)."
The Astros fell behind early after Billy Butler took Rodriguez
deep to left for a two-out solo home run in the first inning.
Alcides Escobar doubled the Royals' lead with two outs in the
third, with a high-bouncing grounder that skipped over Rodriguez
and squeezed in between Jed Lowrie, the shortstop, and second
baseman Jose Altuve to drive in Yuniesky Betancourt.
Rodriguez allowed just one other hit the rest of the way.
"We need (Rodriguez) to find that rhythm right away," Houston
manager Brad Mills said. "He couldn't get in that rhythm (early
on). When he got it, you saw how good he was."
The loss ended a three-game winning streak for the left-hander
that spanned over his previous five starts.
The Astros had their share of chances, but they left nine
runners on base. They were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position
en route to their fifth shutout loss of the season and first since
being on the wrong end of Matt Cain's perfect game last week at San
Francisco.
"Getting hits with runners in scoring position -- that was the
big thing," Mills said.
It was Johnson who ended Hochevar's no-hit bid with a line drive
to center in the fifth inning, but the Astros couldn't get beyond
third base despite coming close a couple of times later in the
game.
In the sixth, they had the tying run at second base after
Hochevar walked Lowrie and Carlos Lee doubled to right.
Hochevar never wavered, coolly striking out Justin Maxwell and
Brian Bogusevic -- the latter on three curveballs -- to shut the door
on the Astros' hopes.
Mills said Hochevar's breaking ball proved troublesome,
especially in the earlier innings.
"We had trouble making adjustments, as you obviously saw,"
Mills said.
Lee chased Hochevar in the eighth, connecting for a clutch
two-out single to the left-field wall to advance Lowrie to third
and again put the tying run at second base after the throwing error
by Alex Gordon.
Crow, Hochevar's replacement, fell behind the count against
Maxwell but managed to strike him out swinging to end the threat.
"He was pitching pretty good early on," Lee said of Hochevar.
"We put some hits together (later on) but couldn't get the big
hit."


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