Houston loses to Cleveland
Astros give up finale to Indians as Houston's bullpen falters
With wins in the first two games of this series, and having swept all four in Cleveland earlier in the year, the Astros entered Wednesday trying to finish off the season-series sweep over the Indians. They would come up short, however, as Houston's bullpen would not hold up, allowing Cleveland to salvage a game.
Final Score: Indians 5, Astros 4
Astros' Record: 58-39, first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Bryan Shaw (3-3)
Losing Pitcher: Austin Pruitt (0-1)
McCullers Jr. battles, but ends up on the hook
Lance McCullers Jr. had an up-and-down night, posting two solid innings to start the game before giving up a game-tying RBI-double in the third where he allowed two hits, a walk, and used 34 pitches. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 fourth, erased runners on second and third with one out in the top of the fifth, but in the sixth would not record an out after loading the bases on two singles and a walk, ending his night. Bryan Abreu came in from the bullpen and, after striking out the first two batters, allowed a bases-clearing double to charge three runs to McCullers Jr. That finalized his line: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 100 P.
Houston ties it back up
3 HRs in 2 games. Not bad. 🔥#ForTheH pic.twitter.com/XEitdSmQem
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 22, 2021
To that point, the Astros had brought in two runs, both on solo homers. The first was a game-tying solo shot by Jose Altuve, his third over the last two games, in the bottom of the fourth. Kyle Tucker then gave Houston a lead in the bottom of the fifth, blasting a solo shot to go ahead 2-1.
Then, down 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Martin Maldonado led off with a double, then scored on an RBI double by Jose Altuve, cutting the lead to one run and leaving Altuve on second as the tying run. After a sacrifice groundout by Michael Brantley to move Altuve to third, Yuli Gurriel would get him home, tying the game with an RBI single to make it 4-4 heading to the seventh.
Astros drop the finale
Austin Pruitt was Houston's next reliever, coming in to take over in the top of the seventh. He allowed a one-out go-ahead solo homer to Cleveland, then faced and retired one more batter to hit the minimum of three before Dusty Baker moved on to Blake Taylor, who finished the frame on one pitch.
After the Astros stranded the tying runner in the bottom of the seventh, Ryne Stanek was next out of the bullpen in the top of the eighth and kept it a one-run game, erasing a one-out walk. Still 5-4 in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came on and continued his recent success by posting a scoreless inning. It would be to no avail, though, as the Astros would come up empty in the home half, allowing Cleveland to salvage a game in both this series and the season series.
Up Next: The Astros will have Thursday off before continuing this homestand by welcoming the Rangers into town for a three-game set starting Friday at 7:10 PM Central. In the opener, Kolby Allard (2-7, 4.06 ERA) for Texas is expected to face Jake Odorizzi (3-5, 4.09 ERA) for Houston.
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