The only extra-base hit the Astros managed was Evan Gattis' two-run, first-inning homer on Wednesday, on a pitch that was more than four feet off the ground. It was the 15th homer and team-leading 53rd RBI for the burly slugger, but the Astros didn't have many chances after that against Indians starter Trevor Bauer.
"We're facing some good pitching," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They've exploited a few chase counts. These guys have good pitching. Our guys, we haven't been able to scratch out enough. I thought we got a break early when Gattis swung at the high fastball and hit the homer, and then both pitchers sort of didn't give up any activity.
"I felt like we had Bauer on the ropes early and then just couldn't chase him out of the game. He usually walks a few; we couldn't draw any walks. He battled his way, he threw a lot of good breaking balls tonight. It was a difficult night."
The Astros are aggressive by nature and entered play Wednesday ranked fifth in the American League in walks, but clutch hits have been missing the last two nights.
"You can't concede too many strikes against these guys either when you're facing the quality pitching that we're seeing this series -- the first three guys, and we'll have a tough guy [Cody Anderson] tomorrow night, too," he said. "We've got to get good pitches to hit. It's hard to fault our approach given the aggressive mindset. We had a really good approach against [Carlos] Carrasco [on Monday], and it was very similar. I think Bauer was a little bit more in the zone trying to get his fastball, because we know what kind of breaking ball he has."
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.