A pair of teams trying to end losing streaks collide Friday at Minute Maid Park, where the Houston Astros are set to open a three-game series versus the Cleveland Indians.
The Astros are mired in a five-game losing streak and were just swept in three games against the Oakland Athletics. In Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Athletics, Bud Norris couldn't even get out of the first inning and was pounded for six runs and five hits in just two-thirds of an inning.
Carlos Pena homered and Rick Ankiel delivered a pinch-hit blast in defeat. The Astros scored the game's final four runs, but the debacle in the opening frame was too much to overcome.
"I don't believe in moral victories; you either win or lose," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "But at the same time I liked that we kept fighting."
Jose Altuve went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored for Houston.
Lucas Harrell toes the rubber for the Astros Friday and he is searching for his first win of the season (0-2). Harrell did not record a decision in Saturday's 5-4 road loss to the L.A. Angels and hurled 5 2/3 innings of one- run ball with five K's and one walk.
Harrell lowered his ERA from 7.84 to 5.62 and is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two career meetings (1 start) with the Indians.
Cleveland has dropped four in a row and is coming off Thursday's 6-3 setback to the Boston Red Sox in the finale of a three-game series.
Indians starter Zach McAllister allowed three runs on six hits and three walks over five innings to absorb the loss for Cleveland.
"I though at times I was pretty good, but other times I was not too good. I threw too many pitches for the innings I pitched, but I was able to battle and get out of tough jams when I needed to," McAllister said.
Carlos Santana had two hits and an RBI and Mike Aviles had a hit, a run scored and drove in a run for the Tribe.
Cleveland hopes Brett Myers can find his groove in Friday's opener of a lengthy 10-game road trip. In his first season with the Indians, Myers is 0-2 with an 8.82 earned run average in three starts and suffered a tough-luck loss in Sunday's 3-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Myers was reached for two runs in six innings and allowed six hits. He tied a season high with four strikeouts and issued one walk. The fiery right-hander and former Astro is 3-3 with a 4.92 ERA in 11 career games (8 starts) against Houston. Myers pitched for the Astros from 2010-2012.
The Astros won two of three matchups with Cleveland last season. It was the first series between the teams since Houston won two of three back in 2001.