• Brian L. Barefield

Astros winning streak stopped at eight-games after loss to Padres

Photo Credit/ Denis Poroy

The old cliché goes, “All good things must come to an end.” The Houston Astros (15-11) learned that on Friday night as the San Diego Padres (16-12) broke their eight-game winning streak defeating them 4-3 at Petco Park.

Houston had not lost a game since August 11th when they dropped an extra inning contest to the San Francisco Giants.

Runners left on base was a huge issue for the Astros and was a major factor in the one-run loss. Houston stranded 11 runners with the most significant blow coming in the second inning when designated hitter Josh Reddick struck out with the bases loaded. Those are the kind of things that manager Dusty Baker wants his team to be aware of when it comes to taking advantage of big opportunities.

“It’s very frustrating to not put the ball in play,” said Baker when asked about only scoring one run in the first two-innings with the bases loaded. “We had an uncharacteristic night. That was a tough one to lose because you look back is frustrating, but you have to start another streak tomorrow.”

Houston got on the board when Carlos Correa drove in George Springer from third base after he had hit a double to leadoff the inning. San Diego tied the game with a Manny Machado single up the middle to score Eric Hosmer. The Padres took the lead for good in the bottom of the fifth inning when Machado got his second RBI of the game with another single and Jake Cronenworth doubled to right field to bring him home and give San Diego a 4-1 lead.

That would be the last inning pitched for Astros starter Lance McCullers (2-2). He had struggled in the earlier innings. After hitting Hosmer in the third inning, he had a scare in the bottom of the fourth as an 82-mph knuckle-curveball got away from him and hit Padres hitter Will Myers in the head. McCullers was relieved in the sixth inning by Cy Sneed after going five innings with seven hits and four earned runs.

“Not great,” McCullers said of his start. “I gotta make some better pitches with two strikes. It’s a learning curve and process. Physically I am good, I just think my stuff [Pitches] throughout games and batters is doing different stuff than I am accustomed too.”

The Astros would close the gap by scoring runs in the sixth and seventh to cut the lead to one, but that would be as close as they would get as third baseman Abraham Toro grounded out with a runner on base to end the game.

Houston will also have to make some adjustments in the batters’ box as they struck out 13 times on Friday and went 4-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

The second game against the Padres is Saturday at Petco Park.

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