Astros bullpen falters in 10-inning loss to Diamondbacks

BY Shawn Ramsey • August 1, 2015

The Houston Astros managed to get to Diamondbacks' starting pitcher Rubby De La Rose in the fifth inning, tagging the right-hander for four runs, but was unable to hold back Arizona's quick comeback to tie, and eventually lead in the 10th inning in the 6-4 loss. 

The fifth inning was the Astros only scoring frame in the extra-inning game, jumping out to a 3-1 lead after two back-to-back singles by Luis Valbuena and Marwin Gonzalez led to a Jason Castro home run one night after hitting the walk-off homer to cap the sweep against the Angels. Rookie sensation Carlos Correa added a solo home run of his own, his 10th of the season, later in the inning to extend the lead to 4-1. 

Unfortunately for the Astros, the pitching was unable to hold back the Diamondbacks long with starter Scott Feldman giving up two more runs to cut the lead to one in the sixth before leaving the game. Feldman finished the night pitching 5.1 innings, tagged for seven hits, and three runs, striking out three. While Feldman was in line for the win when he departed the game, the bullpen stumbled attempting to hold the one-run lead. 

"We didn't play our best today," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I think we had a couple aspects of the games we had a tough time answering them, and it cost us the game in a couple of different ways."

Entering the game for Feldman, Chad Qualls was tagged with the game-tying run in the seventh inning, having the starter settle for a no-decision in the eventual loss. The Diamondbacks gave the finishing blow in the 10th inning with back-to-back home runs by Welington Castillo and Jake Lamb off Astros usually-steady reliever Pat Neshek. 

While the Astros lost the game in the 10th, they had their chance to get another walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning with Thursday night's hero, Castro, at the plate with Marwin Gonzalez on first base from Arizona error. Instead, Gonzalez made a costly base-running mistake by attempting to take off to second base early, resulting in being picked off by Diamondbacks' pitcher Daniel Hudson. 

"That was the thing that shouldn't happen," Gonzalez said. "That should never happen on our team. This is a hustle team. It was a mistake by me. It was a frustration moment like when he caught the ball and made the play. Again, it was a bad moment and a moment that I didn't think, so that was just a mistake that shouldn't happen."

Hinch said the mistake on the bases in the ninth inning will be used as a learning experience for the club. 

"No one's trying to get picked off there," he said. "He saw something and he was going to try to take advantage of and got caught off base. Obviously, turn around then to the next inning where it's back-to-back home runs [by the D-backs off Pat Neshek] makes it feel even worse. No one is trying to make an out on the bases there. It's a difficult play that we'll learn from."

With the loss, the Astros snap a seven-game home winning streak and will attempt to even the interleague matchup Saturday against the Diamondbacks with Dallas Keuchel taking the mound. 

NOTES: Outfielder Carlos Gomez, acquired Thursday from the Milwaukee Brewers along with RHP Mike Fiers, made his debut with the Astros Friday night. He had a rough night at the plate, going 0-5, striking out once. 

Follow Shawn Ramsey on Twitter: @ShawnPRamsey


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