Indians win to close within half-game of wild card
The Houston Astros have lost a major league-high 102 games. The last two have been especially painful to manager Bo Porter.
It was the Astros' second extra-inning defeat in two nights - following a 6-5 loss to Cincinnati in 13 innings - and played out in a similar, fundamentally flawed fashion.
''It's one thing to get beat, but it's another thing to beat yourself,'' a fuming Porter said. ''We just squandered opportunity after opportunity with poor at-bats and bad baserunning. It's extremely frustrating because this is basic baseball. We should have won these last two games.''
Houston catcher Cody Clark opened the 10th with a double off Indians reliever Cody Allen, but it went for naught one pitch later when pinch-runner Jake Elmore was picked off second base. Elmore was leaning toward third when catcher Yan Gomes gunned him down.
One day earlier against the Reds, Jose Altuve was caught in an 11th-inning rundown between second and third base. He also was thrown out, which helped end the rally.
''Honestly, I didn't even talk to Jake about it, because what is there to talk about?'' Porter said. ''I'm done with the conversations at this point. Get it done.''
Elmore called his mistake ''inexcusable'' and understood why his manager was so upset.
''He was mad, and he should be,'' Elmore said. ''I was being over-aggressive trying to get to third, and the one thing you can't have happen is getting picked off.
''These have been a couple of tough games because we've made some mistakes that are easily avoidable. Mistakes that could possibly cost us a game.''
Adding to the Astros' frustration, they were collectively tired after being unable to check into their downtown Cleveland hotel until 6:30 a.m. Their home loss to the Reds lasted 5 hours, 13 minutes, delaying their flight out of Houston until the wee hours of the morning.
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who flew into Cleveland on Wednesday, started and went seven strong innings. He allowed seven hits and struck out seven, giving up his lone run in the first on a single by Jason Kipnis.
''Any time you can limit a good team that's playing for the playoffs like Cleveland, it's pretty good,'' said Keuchel, who is 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two career starts against the Indians. ''I felt good and the results were better.''
Houston tied the game in the second against Cleveland right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, on L.J. Hoes' sacrifice fly. Left fielder Marc Krauss, who attended Ohio University, tied his career high with three hits.
The score remained that way until Carson's single in the 11th off Cruz (0-2), which sliced under the glove of second baseman Altuve and scored Gomes.
''Our guys kept plugging away and we did some good things to win that game,'' Indians manager Terry Francona said.
The Astros had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the top of the ninth, loading the bases with one out against Indians closer Chris Perez.
Krauss doubled, Matt Dominguez was hit by a pitch on his left hand, and Chris Carter walked, but Perez collected himself and struck out Brett Wallace and Hoes to end the threat. It was Wallace's fourth strikeout of the game.
Indians reliever Bryan Shaw (5-3) picked up the win with one perfect inning.
Clark, who was 1 for 29 entering the game, had two hits.
NOTES: Astros C Jason Castro (right knee) underwent an arthroscopic procedure to remove a cyst from his right knee Thursday in Houston. The All-Star was placed on the DL Tuesday and will miss the rest of the season. ... Astros C Max Stassi (concussion) has resumed working out and could rejoin the team this weekend. Stassi has been on the 15-day DL since he was injured at Texas on Aug. 21. ... Houston is playing its first series in Cleveland since 2000. ... Indians third base coach Brad Mills managed Houston from 2010-2012 before being fired late last season. His record with the Astros was 171-274. ... Indians RHP Zach McAllister (8-9) takes on Astros LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-3) in the second game of the four-game set Friday.