HOUSTON (AP) - Astros rookie Jordan Lyles made another start against the Texas Rangers and came up short again.
This time he was foiled by a series of things.
The Rangers picked on the young right-hander for five runs, but he was also hurt by Houston's offense, which failed to build on an early lead in a 7-3 loss Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game series between the in-state rivals.
``We had a chance to come back and do something good about this game,' said Astros bench coach Al Pedrique, who took over after Houston manager Brad Mills was ejected to end the sixth inning for arguing a call on a double play. ``Lyles threw the ball well except for the two innings with two outs. He felt short of making a quality pitch.
``We were one or two hits away from having big innings. We feel short.'
Texas starter C.J Wilson (8-3) frustrated the Astros for much of his seven-inning outing, limiting Houston to two runs and two hits. He walked two and struck out three in a masterful performance.
While Lyles struggled in two-out situations, Wilson seemed to thrive on the pressure.
``Make that quality pitch to get out of trouble. That's what their starter, Wilson, did,' Pedrique said.
Lyles (0-3) took notes on Wilson's success.
``It just didn't fall my way tonight, everything, from the first inning,' he said. ``I walked the first batter of the game. I don't know if I can recall ever doing that.'
Lyles, 20, lasted six innings in his sixth career start and second against the Rangers. He also faced them on June 21 when he got a no-decision in Houston's loss. Lyles allowed three runs over seven innings in that outing.
This one was rougher. Lyles gave up three runs in the third inning, and the Astros never recovered. He also allowed two runs in the sixth, but Pedrique still offered praise.
``He went right after the hitters,' Pedrique said. ``He showed good composure on the mound. He didn't back out.
``He didn't make the pitch when he needed to, but Lyles so far has done a good job. Today was a tough loss for him.'
Michael Bourn did his part to help Lyles, going 2 for 4 with a triple. He stole his major league-leading 34th base and scored both Astros runs.
Carlos Corporan had a career-high three hits, and Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee contributed RBIs. But it wasn't enough for Houston to avoid its fourth straight and sixth in seven games.
It was also the Astros' third loss in four games against the Rangers, who took last week's three-game series in Arlington. Texas has also beaten the Astros seven straight times in Houston.
Brett Wallace's pinch-hit RBI single with two outs in the ninth got the Astros closer, but the lead proved insurmountable. Neftali Feliz came on and struck out Jason Michaels for his 15th save.
The Astros had to do without outfielder Jason Bourgeois after the sixth inning. He left the game because of a strained right hamstring. Bourgeois was injured trying to beat a double play in the fifth.
``My game is my legs and I need them. It's kind of hurting me right now,' Bourgeois said. ``(The team doctor) looked at me before I took a shower and he said definitely six or seven days.'
Bourgeois planned to be re-examined on Wednesday.
Bourn got the Astros started in the first. Batting second, he reached on a one-out bunt single, stole second, reached third on Pence's walk, and scored on Lee's sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
The lead didn't last long because Texas struck in the third.
Wilson tripled to lead off the inning and scored on a groundout by Ian Kinsler. One out later, Josh Hamilton hit Lyles' 2-2 curveball for a solo shot to grab the lead. Adrian Beltre singled with two outs and scored on Michael Young's single to center for the 3-1 lead.
``I didn't really bounce my curveball,' Lyles said. ``Guys weren't biting on it.'
The Rangers padded the lead in the sixth with a couple of extra-base hits, including a two-out RBI triple by Kinsler to make it 5-1.
Kinsler's shot to right-center scored Yorvit Torrealba, whose one-out double had brought home Mitch Moreland.
The Astros got one back in the bottom of the sixth. Bourn tripled to right-center and scored on Pence's RBI single to left.
Lee seemed to keep the rally going with a fast-dropping line drive to right center, but a spectacular catch by Hamilton at the warning track kept Pence at first base.
Jeff Keppinger then seemed to escape a double play, but umpire Bob Davidson called him out at first base. That prompted an emphatic and drawn-out protest by Mills, who was then ejected.
``I thought I beat the play,' Keppinger said. ``I thought it was pretty easy to see, but he saw it the other way. Those guys mistakes out there, too.
``We can't give up any outs, especially against that team. That team hits. So we need every out we can get.'
Television replays appeared to show that Keppinger beat the throw, with the ball at least a couple of feet away from Young's glove as Keppinger hit the bag.
``Definitely, we thought he was safe,' Pedrique said. ``Maybe it could have changed the game a little bit, kept the inning alive. It went the other way. We didn't get the call right, and that happens.'
Texas added to the lead with solo shots by Moreland and Kinsler in the eighth and ninth innings. Both homers were hit off Astros reliever Aneury Rodriguez.
The Associated Press News Service
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