• Brian L. Barefield

Now Hiring: Astros bullpen wastes brilliant outing by Bielak to lose in extra inning.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

At this point of the season Astros manager Dusty Baker should create a LinkedIn page with a headline that reads:

HIRING: Bullpen pitchers needed. Must be able to maintain a lead.

Once again, the Astros bullpen squandered a lead late in the game to lose another extra inning game. Houston (7-10) surrendered a 4-run advantage to the San Francisco Giants (8-11) losing 7-6 in 10-innings. It was the Astros sixth loss in the last seven games and they also are 1-4 in extra- inning games played this season.

"This is tough, just tough to take," Dusty Baker said after watching his team lose their eighth game of the season by less than three runs. "We had the right guys out there at the right time, but we didn't get the job done."

Houston blew another opportunity to get rookie pitcher Brandon Bielak a win as he made his second major league start against the Giants. It was the bullpen that lost the game for him last week against the Arizona Diamondbacks when they gave up five runs over four-innings to lose the game 5-4. Bielak pitched very well and should have gotten the victory going five innings allowing two runs and six hits.

The bullpen has been very erratic this season allowing seven homeruns and 24 earned runs over the last seven games.

“It’s going to burn a little bit,” said Bielak. “I’m definitely going to think about it a lot tonight. Being baseball, we get to come back tomorrow and do it all over again.”

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

After trailing 1-0, the Astros used a three-run second inning to take the lead by Josh Reddick’s double to center field to drive in Martin Maldonado and Jose Altuve. Alex Bregman would provide more run support in the very next inning hitting a homerun to the Crawford Boxes. Houston tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to go up 6-2 and that should have been enough runs to secure the win for Bielak. Or at least one would think it would be.

As we have learned in the last seven games. No lead is secure when the Astros relief pitchers enter the game. Blake Taylor allowed 37-year-old pinch hitter Hunter Pence to hit a three-run homer off of him in the top of the seventh inning to pull the Giants within one-run. He would strike again in the top of the ninth inning with a single to right field off of reliever Ryan Pressly that eventually helped the Giants tie the game.

"We were all pretty happy for Hunter," Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. "Obviously that changed the game for us and put us right back where we needed to be."

The Astros sent Cy Sneed (0-3) to the mound in the top of the 10th and he gave up an RBI single that ended up being the winning run for San Francisco.

“They say one of the biggest downers in sports or in baseball is when there’s a blown save,” Dusty Baker said.

Houston will look to win their first series in three tries on Wednesday.

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