Less than 24 hours after manager Brad Mills was shown the door, the Astros didn't exactly play with any renewed vigor in an 8-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the finale of a three-game series Sunday.
Tony DeFrancesco made his debut as Houston's interim skipper, but was welcomed to the major leagues rudely as Ian Kennedy (11-10) fanned seven over six innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits and struggled with his command a bit, walking a season-high five, but did enough to snap a personal two-game slide.
"My first major league managerial game, unfortunately, it didn't work out the way we wanted," DeFrancesco said. "It was an honor. It was an honor to put the Astro uniform on, to be a part of the organization, and I'm excited to get it going."
Miguel Montero ripped a two-run single and Aaron Hill added pair of solo home runs for the Diamondbacks, who have won four consecutive games.
Armando Galarraga (0-4) didn't make it out of the fourth inning as he allowed five runs on six hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout in 3 2/3 frames.
Jason Castro knocked in the only run for the skidding Astros, who have lost six of their last seven games. In addition to Mills, the club released hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meachem.
Arizona broke a scoreless deadlock with five runs in the fourth. Hill led off the frame with a solo shot over the wall in left and it only got worse from there for Galarraga. Jason Kubel and Paul Goldschmidt ripped back-to-back base hits and Chris Young singled home Kubel two batters later to widen the lead.
"Goldy (Goldschmidt) has been doing a lot of that lately," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said of Goldschmidt's good approach at the plate. "He had the same type of at-bat against (Cardinals pitcher Jason) Motte in St. Louis. You want to see guys shorten up with two strikes."
Young and Goldschmidt executed a double steal before Stephen Drew walked to load the bases. Ryan Wheeler drew a walk to plate Goldschmidt and Kennedy helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly. Gerardo Parra capped the rally with an RBI ground-rule double, making it 5-0.
Houston finally cracked the scoreboard with a run in the sixth. Tyler Greene doubled to start the inning and Brian Bogusevic walked. Kennedy got Brandon Barnes to ground into a double play, but Castro came up with an RBI single to cut the deficit to four.
Hill and Goldschmidt walked in the Arizona seventh and both runners scored on a single up the middle by Montero to widen the margin to 7-1.
Hill put the icing on the cake in the eighth when he got a high fastball and roped it into the left field Crawford Boxes.
Mills was 171-274 since his hiring in October 2009 and became the fourth consecutive Astros manager to be fired mid-season, following Jimy Williams, Phil Garner and Cecil Cooper ... The Astros have won just six times in 36 games since the All-Star break ... Prior to being named interim manager, DeFrancesco was the manager of the Astros' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City ... Arizona has beaten the Astros seven straight times at Minute Maid Park and nine straight times overall ... It was Hill's fifth career two-home run game ... The Astros fell to 27-35 at home this season and 11-25 in day games.