Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks shut out Astros

Frustration. Waning command. Errors. Fruitless at-bats. The Astros, previously impervious to their own mistakes and unforgiving to their opposition's, reverted to their worst habits in Thursday's 4-0 loss to the Diamondbacks. The Astros had scored 18 runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, but they do not appear finished with a second-half lull that has cast doubt over their postseason potential. In the final of four games against the Diamondbacks on Thursday afternoon, lefty Patrick Corbin (10-11), who began the day with a 4.52 ERA, cut down MLB's most productive offense with a slider that tempted 10 swinging strikes. Corbin struck out seven batters and likely would have completed the shutout were it not for a two-out double by Yuli Gurriel in the ninth. MAKE A WISH Astros make nine-year-old cancer patient's dream come true In contrast to Corbin's efficiency Yasmany Tomas White Jersey, Mike Fiers (7-8, 4.32) lasted 5 1 3 innings because of wasted pitches. Fiers's performance looked worse than the three runs (two earned) he allowed. Before the game, A.J. Hinch identified Fiers' problems during a of late not enough strikes on first pitches, outside fastballs and curves near the margins. Fiers did not show improvement. Like a magician's coin, Fiers' command looked gone until it suddenly reappeared in his grasp during a 37-pitch third inning that ruined his chance for a deep outing He started the inning by walking Ketel Marte, sending him to third with a pickoff throw that rolled into the outfield and walking Chris Herrmann. Jeff Mathis singled past a diving Yuli Gurriel to drive in Marte for the first score. Then, Fiers slowed down his pace and regained enough control to end the jam. After inducing a pop up, Fiers came back from 3-1 and 3-0 counts to strike out consecutive batters. With two outs in the fourth, Fiers surrendered his 29th homer — an inside-the-park home run by Daniel Descalso, who scored after his line drive to center caromed awkwardly and then Jake Marisnick fumbled the ball. Fiers gave up his major-league-leading 30th home run in the sixth to make it 3-0 Diamondbacks. Jake Lamb clobbered a first-pitch 89 mph fastball for his 26th home run. Fiers got one more out before J.D. Martinez ousted him with a loft single. Hinch brought in Francisco Liriano. Before the game, Liriano, who has underperformed since arriving as the Astros' only acquisition near the trade deadline, said he still is figuring out how to transition from a starter to a reliever. After a string of laborious outings, Liriano pitched 1 2 3 innings of quality relief. He needed two pitches to end the sixth with a double play and he finished the seventh with another. The Astros squandered a good chance to score in the fourth. Jake Marisnick singled with two outs. Then a throwing error by shortstop Ketel Marte on George Springer's grounder put runners in scoring position for Alex Bregman, who began the day hitting .336 since July 4. But Marte redeemed himself on an easy ground out by Bregman to strand the runners. An inning later, J.D. Davis reached second when his ground ball led to consecutive errors third baseman Jake Lamb bobbled it and Marte overthrew it. Then Davis spoiled his good fortune by running into an inning-ending 5-3-6 double play. With no outs in the sixth, Bregman came up with Marisnick and Springer on again. He seemed to have a sure double when he lined a ball 361 feet to left-center, but Herrmann a Tomball native and Alvin Community College alumnus made a leaping catch in front of the visitor's bullpen. Corbin set up his most difficult bind of the game when he advanced the runners into scoring position with a wild pitch and AL-batting leader Jose Altuve at the plate David Peralta Black/Brick Jersey. But the Astros could not capitalize on their best opportunity to exploit Corbin. Altuve struck out on a check-swing confirmed by first base umpire Ramon DeJesus and Gurriel whiffed at a slider in the dirt. Gurriel showed the Astros had not keeled over with his two-out double. Marwin Gonzalez approached the plate. Earlier, when Corbin had struck him out on a 3-2 slider to end the fifth, Gonzalez flung his helmet and tossed his bat into the grass in foul territory. Photo Chron Sports Spray chart for Marwin Gonzalez's final at-bat against the Diamondbacks on Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Spray chart for Marwin Gonzalez's final at-bat against the... Gonzalez did not do better against Archie Bradley, froze Gonzalez him with an outside fastball, to squelch the Astros' hope for a rally.

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