Astros' offense waiting for timely hits

Houston strands 13 runners in loss to Rangers

Astros' offense waiting for timely hits

ARLINGTON -- The Astros had no shortage of baserunners Saturday night at Globe Life Park, pounding out a season-high 11 hits and drawing four walks. Finding a way to get those runners around to home plate was a frustrating exercise for manager A.J. Hinch.

The Astros, who entered Saturday's game 2-for-21 with runners in scoring position, couldn't find many clutch hits again in a 6-2 loss to the Rangers. They were 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 men on base.

"We had big at-bats and we had a chance to do some damage," Hinch said. "[Jason] Castro had couple of line outs with runners on base. [George] Springer hit the ball hard to shortstop. We just didn't really get anything on the ground, in the outfield to really keep innings alive when we needed it the most."

After Marwin Gonzalez homered in the third inning in his first at-bat of the season, the Astros proceeded to load the bases against nemesis Yovani Gallardo with two outs. Chris Carter, who was second in the league in homers last year, struck out to kill the rally.

"That's a big situation that can change the game right there," said Carter, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a walk. "I was just trying to hit the ball hard, not trying to do too much with it."

The Astros had runners at second and third with one out in the fourth, only to watch Gonzalez ground out and Jake Marisnick pop up. They loaded the bases in the fifth for Jose Altuve, who was walked on four pitches by reliever Jon Edwards to drive in a run. Springer, facing Phil Klein, then hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice to strand the bases loaded.

Carter is off to a rough start this season, hitting .053 (1-for-19), but he's gone through several such stretches the last couple of years.

"Any given pitch, Chris Carter can impact the game," Hinch said. "We've seen him go through spells like this. He's going to bust out eventually and do a ton of damage. This is a very, very dangerous hitter. I'm glad he's on our side and we believe in him. He's going to come through, but certainly he's gotten off to a slow start."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.