Feldman's fine first season in Houston ends with loss

Righty allows a run in six innings in his final start of the year

Feldman's fine first season in Houston ends with loss

ARLINGTON -- The Astros signed Scott Feldman to a three-year, $30-million contract in December to be the bell cow of a young rotation, banking he would show the pups the ropes of professionalism while hoping he had plenty left in the tank.

Though the numbers, which include a career-high 12 losses, won't be cause for celebration, Feldman delivered in his first season wearing an Astros uniform, which came to an end Wednesday night in a 5-1 loss to the Rangers at Globe Life Park.

"It was a little hit or miss, but overall we kept the team in the game and the other guy was better tonight," said Feldman after holding the Rangers to one run in six innings.

Astros second baseman Jose Altuve went 1-for-3 with a walk and two stolen bases, keeping his batting average at an American League-best .343 with three games remaining. He joined Ichiro Suzuki as the only players in the last 14 years with at least 222 hits in a season.

Unfortunately for the Astros, hits were hard to find as they finished with only five. Chris Carter went 0-for-4 for the second game in a row and is in a 1-for-19 slump, with only one homer since Sept. 5.

"The middle of the lineup, that's where the runs are usually driven in and right now he's just missing pitches," Astros interim manager Tom Lawless said of Carter. "He's fouling them off and just missing them by a little bit. If he comes through in some situations and puts good wood on the ball, good things happen for us, obviously. Right now, he's off a little bit."

En route to their 90th loss, the Astros were swept in three games by the Rangers, finishing 11-8 against their Lone Star rivals after going 2-17 against them last year. Houston heads to New York on Friday for its final three games of the season against the Mets at Citi Field.

The Rangers have won four in a row and 11 of their last 12. Interim manager Tim Bogar jokingly held up an "interim Silver Boot" made of aluminum foil after sweeping the Astros. The real Silver Boot is in Houston for the first time since 2006.

"It's always good to win three in a row against anybody," he said. "We didn't play well against them up to this point so it's nice to play well and nice to get good starting pitching like we have."

Feldman, who pitched for the Rangers from 2005-12, worked six innings in his 29th and final start for the Astros this year, allowing the Rangers one run and four hits to drop his ERA to 3.74 -- the lowest of his career.

"I guess I've always had pretty bad ERAs in the past," Feldman joked. "That part of it was good. I obviously wish I could have won some more games, but hopefully next year we'll win more games as a team and I'll win more as a pitcher."

Rangers starter Lisalverto Bonilla (3-0) held the Astros to four hits in six scoreless innings, striking out seven batters.

Feldman pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth inning before giving up an RBI single to Elvis Andrus in the fifth. Rougned Odor homered to center field off reliever Jose Veras with one out in the seventh, and Ryan Rua blasted a three-run homer later in the inning to make it 5-0.

Veras had a 0.96 ERA in his previous 19 appearances before allowing four runs in two-thirds of an inning Wednesday.

"Jose, he's been so good for so long, you figure one of those is on the way, but he just didn't have his control tonight," Lawless said. "He got behind in the count, and usually he's pretty good ahead in the count for the last two or three weeks I've been here, and tonight was just one of those nights."

Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar hit his seventh homer of the season in the eighth inning -- the only Houston hit that wasn't a single.

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.