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Verlander fans 11, but Astros' offense stymied

Houston loses ninth straight game at Minute Maid Park
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- Another punchless performance by the Astros' offense at Minute Maid Park kept All-Star starter Justin Verlander still in search of career win No. 200.

Verlander struck out 11 and didn't issue a walk in six innings, but the right-hander took the loss on a two-run homer by Nolan Arenado in the sixth that sent the Rockies to a 5-1 win over the Astros on Tuesday night.

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HOUSTON -- Another punchless performance by the Astros' offense at Minute Maid Park kept All-Star starter Justin Verlander still in search of career win No. 200.

Verlander struck out 11 and didn't issue a walk in six innings, but the right-hander took the loss on a two-run homer by Nolan Arenado in the sixth that sent the Rockies to a 5-1 win over the Astros on Tuesday night.

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The Astros had only three hits and lost their season-high-tying fifth consecutive game. They have lost nine in a row at home, having last won at Minute Maid Park on July 14. Houston has only two longer home losing streaks in franchise history -- 11 games in 1966 and 10 in '62.

"LIke all of our guys and us, or anybody associated with our team, we have a choice whether to carry this garbage into tomorrow's game or do we wipe the slate clean and do our best?" Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "I know our guys are resilient and we'll show up ready to play."

Video: COL@HOU: Verlander, Reddick, Hinch on 5-1 loss

Houston's lead in the American League West has dwindled to one game after Oakland's 3-2 win over Seattle. The Astros have been playing without injured stars Jose Altuve and George Springer, who is expected to come off the disabled list on Friday.

"I think we're a talented ballclub," Verlander said. "We've got some major pieces on the shelf right now. Just keep fighting and clawing. I think we probably have as good of an atmosphere in here as we can have, with the way things are going right now. I think we still come in every day with a positive outlook on the game and try to do everything we can to win a ballgame. Just hasn't happened. I think we turn the page and try to win tomorrow."

Video: COL@HOU: Reddick smacks an RBI single into right

Rockies starter German Marquez (10-9) didn't give up a hit until Yuli Gurriel led off the fifth with a triple, scoring the game's first run on an RBI single by Josh Reddick. That was the only inning in which the Astros pushed a runner past second base.

"Obviously, we're missing some big pieces right now, and we're feeling it," Reddick said. "Maybe guys are trying to do too much to try to make up for what we don't have in our lineup right now. We've got to find different ways to win. It seems like guys are pressing too much right now and we've just go to go back and play our game."

Verlander (11-8) dominated through the first five innings, striking out nine. A two-out bloop single by Carlos Gonzalez in the sixth was followed by a two-run homer from Arenado that put the Rockies ahead, 2-1. Trevor Story pushed Colorado's lead to 4-1 with a homer off Brad Peacock in the eighth.

"This is a very tough game," Hinch said. "It's tough, physically and mentally, getting beat up on both sides in a small stretch. You try to get these guys to rewind back five or six days when we were coming off a really successful road trip and we felt pretty good. It's amazing what baseball can do to you if you allow it. If you allow it to beat you down, it will beat you down. We're all frustrated. We don't think this is good enough. This is not indicative of how we are and who we can be, and it's our reality right now and we've sort of got to stand up straight and got to compete again."

Video: COL@HOU: Hinch on offensive struggles, 5-1 loss

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Turning point: Verlander and Hinch were befuddled by Arenado's homer, which had a 33-percent hit probability, according to Statcast™. Verlander threw a 97-mph fastball that Arenado poked into the right-field seats, traveling an estimated 349 feet. Arenado appeared to not even see if the ball had left the ballpark.

"He maybe thought it was a foul ball, kind of an excuse-me swing," Verlander said. "That's kind of the way things are going right now. I felt like I executed the pitch I wanted. He was able to get the barrel to it, and it just found a way to leave the yard. We have a pretty short porch in right and left here. If you keep the guys in center field, it's pretty fair. He was able to kind of get it elevated to right field, and the ball carried pretty well. Pretty frustrating, especially after the way we've been doing offensively. We were able to get a run there and I went back out there with two outs and gave up a blooper and kind of an excuse-me-swing homer. Kind of when it rains, it pours is what it seems like right now."

Video: COL@HOU: Arenado drills his 30th homer of the season

SOUND SMART
The Astros are 3-5 this year when Verlander strikes out at least 10 batters.

HE SAID IT
"I'd rather give up like a bad pitch and a way-back homer, no-doubter, 450 feet to left field because I threw a crappy pitch. Instead, I go look at the replay and he just kind of didn't know where he hit it and, 'Oh, it's a homer,' and he gets in the dugout and he's joking around with his guys, saying, 'Oh, I didn't know where I hit the ball and it was a home run.' It's just frustrating on this side of things. On that side of things, it's a great time." -- Verlander, on Arenado's homer

UP NEXT
Right-hander Gerrit Cole (10-5, 2.75 ERA) starts Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Rockies at Minute Maid Park. Cole has lost his last three starts, posting a 4.26 ERA in losses to the Mariners (twice) and Dodgers. Lefty Tyler Anderson (6-4, 3.94) will start for Colorado.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Justin Verlander