Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

news

MLB News

Suarez, Giants can't keep up with Cole, Astros

Special to MLB.com

HOUSTON -- The Giants have the tough task of playing their two-game set against the Astros while going up against the American League's top two pitchers in ERA.

On Tuesday, San Francisco starter Andrew Suarez, after a clean first two innings, couldn't match Gerrit Cole. The Giants collected seven hits off Houston pitching -- including a two-run home run from Brandon Crawford off his brother-in-law, Cole -- but they couldn't keep pace with Tony Kemp and the Astros' 13-hit attack in an 11-2 loss at Minute Maid Park.

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- The Giants have the tough task of playing their two-game set against the Astros while going up against the American League's top two pitchers in ERA.

On Tuesday, San Francisco starter Andrew Suarez, after a clean first two innings, couldn't match Gerrit Cole. The Giants collected seven hits off Houston pitching -- including a two-run home run from Brandon Crawford off his brother-in-law, Cole -- but they couldn't keep pace with Tony Kemp and the Astros' 13-hit attack in an 11-2 loss at Minute Maid Park.

View Full Game Coverage

Losing command in Houston's three-run third and two-run fourth did in Suarez, who was unable to get out of the fifth inning in only his sixth Major League start.

"His stuff is there, and as far as all our pitchers, our command was off," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "And we paid for it. It's a good-hitting ballclub."

Video: SF@HOU: Bochy, Suarez discuss 11-2 loss to the Astros

Over the first two innings, the 25-year-old Suarez (1-4) retired his first six batters before Evan Gattis led off the third with a double. That started the troubles for the left-hander, who gave up five runs and seven hits while pitching to one batter in the fifth. He struck out two and walked two.

The Astros scored four runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh. It was more than enough offensive support for Cole, who struck out eight over six innings, allowing four hits.

"Against this club, it's tough to get down against a pitcher like Cole," Bochy said. "Craw got us back in the game, but we just couldn't hold them."

Added Crawford: "[Cole is] elevating more and really hitting his spots. He's always had the upper-90s fastball and good slider. And I think he has even a better curveball this year than he has had in the past. He's hitting that top part of the zone more often. It's hard to get around on that ball when it's 97, 99."

Suarez has velocity, too, and lack of command hasn't been a big issue with him. But on Tuesday, against the reigning World Series champions, he may have backed off a bit when the Astros got four third-inning hits.

Video: SF@HOU: Bregman doubles to left, drives in Springer

"A lot of my balls were just running down the middle," Suarez said. "My glove side was pretty bad today. If I stick to my game plan, I should be fine, but I made a lot of mistakes and I just wasn't very good."

Suarez has lost his last three outings. He has found a place in San Francisco's rotation since Johnny Cueto was placed on the 10-day disabled list on May 1.

The Giants were playing the Astros for the first time since 2015, and still hold a commanding advantage over the former National League club at Minute Maid Park. The loss dropped the Giants to under .500 (24-25) on the season, but they still have a .640 winning percentage (32-18) all time here.

Kemp had five RBIs from the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the Astros (31-18), who are a season-high 13 games above .500.

Crawford's second-inning single extended his hitting streak to nine games and his opposite-field two-run home run into the Crawford Boxes in left field in the fifth scored Evan Longoria, who led off with a walk, and cut the deficit to 5-2.

Video: Must C Clips: Crawford homers off brother-in-law Cole

Cole (5-1) has the AL's second-lowest ERA at 1.86. On Wednesday, the Giants get Major League leader Justin Verlander and his 1.05 ERA.

HE SAID IT
"The [bloop] single I kind of looked over at him just to see if he'd smile. The homer I didn't look at him at all." -- Crawford, on looking for a reaction from Cole after his hits

UP NEXT
Jeff Samardzija gets the nod for the Giants as they conclude a brief two-game Interleague set on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park vs. the Astros, against whom the right-hander is 6-3 lifetime. Samardzija, who began the season on the disabled list, will be making his seventh start, and the Astros are countering with Verlander. First pitch is scheduled for 11:10 a.m. PT.

Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston.

San Francisco Giants, Brandon Crawford, Andrew Suarez