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Deduno falters in audition for fifth rotation spot

Special to MLB.com

HOUSTON -- It only took a few innings, but Samuel Deduno's chance at the Astros' fifth starting spot may be gone.

The long-reliever-turned-spot-starter allowed six runs in the first three innings of Wednesday's 11-3 loss to Texas, including a back-breaking two-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo in the second. That put the Astros in an early 4-0 hole for the second straight game. He gave up 10 runs overall, just the 21st time in Astros history a starter has allowed that many runs in an outing.

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HOUSTON -- It only took a few innings, but Samuel Deduno's chance at the Astros' fifth starting spot may be gone.

The long-reliever-turned-spot-starter allowed six runs in the first three innings of Wednesday's 11-3 loss to Texas, including a back-breaking two-run homer to Shin-Soo Choo in the second. That put the Astros in an early 4-0 hole for the second straight game. He gave up 10 runs overall, just the 21st time in Astros history a starter has allowed that many runs in an outing.

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"It's just going to happen in baseball, a game like this," Deduno said.

Deduno picked a bad time to struggle. After allowing just one run over four innings versus Seattle last week, he was at least getting a fair shake at earning that coveted final starting nod.

The rough second inning delivered a punch, but the third was practically a knockout blow. The Rangers scored twice with two outs, once off a wild pitch and again after consecutive two-out hits. At 6-0, Deduno's night probably should have been done, but the Astros stretched him out with the bullpen in dire need of rest.

"He really never got into the start, where he was in control of innings," said Astros manager A.J. Hinch. "Sam took one for the team to get us late in the game for our bullpen."

While Deduno remained on the mound and running on fumes -- remember, he's been built up as a long reliever all through spring and into the season -- the Rangers shelled him for four more runs in the fifth inning, recording five hits before reliever Joe Thatcher mercifully ended the frame.

"I knew today I needed to go five or six innings, and I couldn't really do it," Deduno said.

And so the Astros' hunt for a fifth starter continues, again without a frontrunner. Asher Wojciechowski got his chance in April and posted a 7.31 ERA. Brad Peacock made a spot start, but he's been sidelined with an intercostal strain. Given his experience at the Major League level, lefty Brett Oberholtzer might be the favorite, but he's still on a rehab stint after a Spring Training setback.

With a clear need to either bring up another starter -- or acquire one -- and 40-man roster spots limited, Deduno's outing could be a bad omen for the coming week.

"It's not something I want to address right after the game," Hinch said. "We'll talk about this as a group as we would, sit down with Sam and figure out how to get him better. We have a full series in Anaheim and an off day before we have to figure it out."

Chris Abshire is a contributor to MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Houston Astros, Samuel Deduno