Missed chances hurt Astros vs. Rangers

Missed chances hurt Astros vs. Rangers

ARLINGTON -- The ninth inning of Tuesday's 4-3 loss to the Rangers pretty much summed up a frustrating day at the office for the Astros, who stranded runners at second and third to end the game and finished 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.

The Astros' high-powered offense, which had been averaging 6.4 runs per game in the seven games prior to Tuesday, also stranded the bases loaded in the sixth after getting three on base with one out.

"We had opportunities, and we just didn't do enough with them, and they did in their big inning, where they scored three runs," manager A.J. Hinch said. "They get a big two-out hit. That's usually the case in a tight game with one extra big hit, big pitch, and they got both ends of that."

After Carlos Gomez led off the sixth with a homer, cutting the Rangers' lead to one run, the Astros proceeded to load the bases with one out. But lefty reliever Sam Freeman got Luis Valbuena to fly to left field and Marwin Gonzalez to ground out to end the inning.

Colby Rasmus led off the ninth against Shawn Tolleson with the third of his three walks and went to third when Valbuena singled to left-center. Gonzalez followed with a rocket down the first-base line that was fielded at the bag by Mitch Moreland for an easy out.

Moreland's nice stop

"It was frustrating, because I hit the ball the best I could, and it was right at him," Gonzalez said. "There's nothing else I could do."

The Astros still had a great chance with runners at second and third and one out, but Tolleson struck out Jason Castro and Jose Altuve swinging to end the game.

"That was a great opportunity," Hinch said. "Tolleson has pitched a lot lately. We have him on the ropes, we have an opportunity. Marwin hits a ball right on the nose, just a good play by Moreland. One more inch one way or another, and we're probably scoring two runs there and Marwin is standing on second or third. That still left us with second and third with one out, [but] they just won the big at-bats at the end of the game."

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.