LOS ANGELES -- The Astros' offense, which produced 14 runs in Saturday's wipeout of the Dodgers, ran out of steam Sunday afternoon as it was running out of its best hitters.Already without injured stars Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, the Astros lost All-Star center fielder George Springer to a left
LOS ANGELES -- The Astros' offense, which produced 14 runs in Saturday's wipeout of the Dodgers, ran out of steam Sunday afternoon as it was running out of its best hitters.
Already without injured stars Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve, the Astros lost All-Star center fielder George Springer to a left thumb injury while succumbing to the Dodgers, 3-2, in the final game of the World Series rematch at Dodger Stadium.
"The first two series on the road, against two good teams, we won both series, so that's the positive to take out of it," said Astros manager AJ Hinch, whose team has won two of three from the Mariners and Dodgers on the road.
The Astros were held to five hits and were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
Springer walloped his 19th homer of the season on the first pitch of the game thrown by Dodgers starter Walker Buehler and then came up just short in the bottom of the first inning on a diving catch attempt of a James Dozier blooper that fell for a two-run double.
"I look at a few things, but just some near misses, you know?" Hinch said. "All three of their runs were with runners in motion. The big, two-out, well-placed double by Dozier, you have to look at positioning and softer contact and it was well-placed. It was a 3-2 count and a lot that led up to that 3-2 count. We were a little unfortunate and little unlucky."
Springer walked in the third, but left the game writhing in pain minutes later when he was tagged hard on the left hand while trying to steal second base. X-rays were negative, but there was no immediate prognosis.
Astros starter Gerrit Cole (10-4) didn't pitch badly, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings, but he cited poor slider command.
"I kind of had to find a second option after that," Cole said. "A leadoff walk to [Joc] Pederson after George sets the tone, it's not good. I battled back that inning and made a good pitch to Dozier -- first hit on the curveball all year for him. … I didn't do a good job of not putting myself in an opportunity to get out of jams, but still made good pitches when I did get in jams. The Dozier hit falls and that's kind of tough."
Astros outfielder Tony Kemp shot a homer to right field off fellow Vanderbilt product Buehler in the fifth to cut the lead to 3-2. Buehler (5-4) struck out eight Astros and allowed two runs and four hits.
"Walker did a good job today," Kemp said. "He pitched above the zone. He used his fastball well and got ahead of the curveball. It felt good to hit a homer off him right here. In the end, we didn't win, so kind of an unpleasant loss."
Kemp is batting .312 with four homers, six doubles and 16 RBIs against right-handed pitchers this year (.883 OPS).
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Jake Marisnick, who replaced Springer in center field, robbed Chris Taylor of a home run with a fantastic catch at the wall in the sixth inning. Marisnick is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball and made a long run before leaping at the wall for a well-timed catch, followed by a fist pump that reliever Will Harris originally thought was a sign of frustration from Marisnick not making the catch.
"Jake's obviously an elite defender out there in center field," Harris said. "I hung a breaking ball to Taylor and he put a really good swing on it. I didn't think he got it, got it, so I knew I kind of had a little bit of hope. Jake was tracking it pretty good. He 'deked' me a little bit with a fist pump. Once I realized he had the ball, it was good to have a lucky break."
The Astros will send Charlie Morton (12-2, 2.90 ERA) to the mound to open a two-game set in San Francisco against the Giants at 9:15 p.m. CT on Monday at AT&T Park. Morton is 5-1 with a 3.02 ERA in his last eight starts. Right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (5-1, 2.59 ERA) will start for the Giants.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.