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Mistakes doom Astros in doubleheader defeat

The SportsXchange

Houston manager Brad Mills rejected "sloppy" as the correct way to describe the Astros' 9-7 defeat against the Colorado Rockies in the front end of a Memorial Day doubleheader.

Then again, Mills wasn't using the use of "tidy," either, after the Astros had committed three errors that led to four unearned runs.

The Astros allowed two more unearned runs Monday night, paving the way for a 10-inning, 7-6 defeat that extended their losing streak to four.

"Both these games really had a lot of similarities," Mills said.

In the opener, an error by third baseman Chris Johnson on the first ball the Rockies put in play paved the way for five runs (two earned) in the first inning against left-hander Wandy Rodriguez. In the second game, a throwing error by Matt Downs set up a run in third inning, and a catcher's interference on Chris Snyder helped along a four-run rally in the fourth inning against right-hander Jordan Lyles.

The Astros had 12 hits in the first game at Coors Field, 14 in the second, and nothing but aggravation to show for it.

"In this environment, in this ballpark, we've all seen games like this," Mills said. "In this ballpark, more chances than not, that's how games are won and lost. You give them extra outs, walks, you don't hit the cutoff man. Because the outfield is so big, it's tough to cover all the ground. You try to keep it under control, because usually both teams are going to score."

With the first five hitters in the order going a combined 12-for-23 in the opener, the Astros rallied from deficits of 5-2 and 6-4 to take a 7-7 deadlock into the bottom of the eighth. One out away from getting through that inning, reliever Fernando Rodriguez issued the Astros' only walk of the game. After Colorado pitcher Jeremy Guthrie came in to pinch-run for Jason Giambi, Fowler hit a grounder to short that proved to be too weak for the Astros' good.

Instead of trying to get Fowler at first base, Jed Lowrie whipped a throw toward second base. The ball sailed into right field, putting runners on second and third and setting a game-winning bloop single to center by Jordan Pacheco. Lowrie said he had a miscommunication with second baseman Jose Altuve.

"I thought (Altuve) was calling for the ball," said Lowrie, who went 2-for-5 with a home run and drove in two runs. "Before the play, we had decided if he hits the ball to the left side, we would go to first. But the way that ball was hit, I thought I heard him calling for it and I didn't think I had a chance at first with Fowler running anyway. I thought we had a better chance with Guthrie at second."
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