HOUSTON (CBS Houston): Astros starter Lucas Harrell wasn’t great tonight, but he deserved better.

The Astros defense failed Harrell (0-3) for the second consecutive start, and the bats could not pick the team up a the Astros (5-9) fell to the Royals (5-7) 4-2 at Minute Maid Park Tuesday night.

Harrell had his share of struggles, throwing 101 pitches in only 5 innings, and only 56 for strikes.  He gave up 5 hits, walked 3 and struck out 4, but hisf ate could have been much better than being saddled with his 3rd straight loss.

The 3rd inning was Harrell’s ultimate undoing.  In a 1-1 game, Harrell gave up a leadoff single to Royals CF Lorenzo Cain that Robbie Grossman allowed to under his glove for a 2 base error, putting a man on 3rd with no one out.  After a strikeout and a walk, Harrell got Omar Infante to bounce into what should have been an inning ending double play.  However, Jonathan Villar did not charge the ball, and Infante beat the relay allowing Cain to score the go ahead run.  Eric Hosmer then doubled off the scoreboard, and Grossman misplayed the bounce allowing Infante to score unchallenged, making it 3-1 game.

In the 5th, facing a bases loaded, one out situation, Harrell got Billy Butler on a shallow fly to right, but Alex Presley threw to second instead of toward the plate, essentially giving the Royals another free run.  This gave the Royals a 4-2 lead.

Carlos Corporan hit a solo homer in the bottom of the 5th, but that was all the Astros could muster off Yordano Ventura (1-0), who went 7 innings for his first win of the year.  Ventura allowed only 4 hits, and struck out 7.

The Astros got solid pen work from Paul Clemens and Josh Fields, who held the line for 4 innings, but the bats could do no more damage. Greg Holland closed out the 9th for his 4th save.

Game 2 of this series will be Wednesday night at 7:10pm.  Dallas Keuchel (1-1) will oppose Jeremy Guthrie (2-0).




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