Houston (CBS HOUSTON) – The offensive woes continued for the Houston Astros Friday night as they fell to the Kansas City Royals 5-1.
Coming into the series the Royals had allowed 21 runs to the Minnesota Twins in a three-game series, but that was not the case Friday as Jason Vargas shut down the Astros for six innings.
“We never really solved his ability to change speed on all of his pitches,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Vargas. “He threw a couple of different fastballs, a couple of changeups, he sort of baited around the strike zone (and) we chased a little bit.”
After holding the Astros in check for most of the night, they would get to Vargas in the seventh and force Royals manager Ned Yoast to go to the bullpen.
Down 2-0, Carlos Correa lead-off the inning with a single and Carlos Beltran would follow doubling him home to put the Astros on the board 2-1. Beltran’s RBI was the 1,537th of his career moving him past New York Yankees great Joe DiMaggio for 49th in MLB history.
“My goal is to try and help this ballclub win ballgames,” Carlos Beltran said when asked about continuing to pass some of the all-time greats. “We have a long season to play so I don’t really get caught up into that.”
With no outs and Beltran at second base, the Astros had made into the Royals pen which had 15.75 era coming to the game, but instead of taking advantage the team failed to drive him in.
Still, a 2-1 game going into the eighth inning, the Astros still were just one swing away from a tie game. That would change with Jandel Gustave coming back for his second inning of work. Gustave was not able to find the strike zone and he ran into a little bit of bad luck and before you knew it the team was down 5-1.
Mike Fiers who started the night for the Astros would do his part giving the team a quality start by holding the Royals to two runs over six innings of work.
The problem for the Astros is they were not able to drive runners in scoring position home, failing to do so five times Friday night.
“We faced a little bit of lefthanded pitching,” Hinch said trying to explain why the offense hasn’t been able to plate runners. “I don’t know if it’s the soft stuff from some of the lefties or the over swinging and anxiousness that our hitters have had, but pretty small sample size when you talk about five games.”