At 3-7, Hinch says Astros 'going to be better'

Manager senses players may be trying to do too much amid slow start

At 3-7, Hinch says Astros 'going to be better'

HOUSTON -- The defending World Series champion Royals gave the Astros an early reminder they're not quite ready to give up their place as the best team in the American League to A.J. Hinch's up-and-coming squad by taking three of four games at Minute Maid Park.

After dropping the opener on Monday, the Royals won three straight from Houston, including a 6-2 victory on Thursday night in which Kansas City capitalized by scoring five runs in the sixth after Astros right fielder George Springer lost a ball in the ballpark's new LED lights.

Springer loses popup

Still, Hinch admitted his club was outplayed by the Royals, falling to 3-7 through 10 games.

"More so for us, it's important to make an adjustment to not carry the baggage of the first 10 games with us," Hinch said. "I sense a little bit of guys trying to make up for lost time, lost at-bats, lost wins. That's not how this game is played. Our players know that. They're not trying to carry the extra load, but missing a few pitches here and there, carrying a missed call here or there, carrying a tough at-bat onto the field. We're better than that, and we're going to be better than that."

Three-time All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve, who's hitting .450 with three doubles, three homers and five RBIs in his last five games, said it's natural to try to do too much at times.

Altuve's solo homer

"That's part of being a good teammate," he said. "Sometimes you want to overdo things to help your team win the game. We're going to come back tomorrow and everybody's going to do what we know to do and we're going to be good. Everybody knows what we've got in his clubhouse."

Things don't get any easier for the Astros, who open a three-game series against the Tigers at Minute Maid Park on Friday before traveling to Arlington to meet the Rangers next week. The Red Sox come to Houston after that.

"The tide's going to turn a little bit and we'll get this thing rolling when we're hitting on all cylinders," Hinch said. "We clearly aren't after 10 games. It doesn't define who we are and doesn't define who we're going to be. It does describe what the first 10 days have felt like.

"We'll be positive, we'll wash it away, we'll be here tomorrow. We have a new series. There's no reason for us to carry the frustration of a rough start into the next series. We'll be better."

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.