Subiect: The Rockies

The Houston Astros relied on their powerful offense to win 12 straight games.

On Tuesday night that offense went cold Josh Gordon Jersey , and their streak ended with a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Astros went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position to come up one victory shy of setting the franchise record for longest winning streak in franchise history. After averaging more than seven runs in their last 12 games, Houston managed just five singles to end a stretch of 34 straight games with at least one extra-base hit.

C.J. Cron homered early and Wilson Ramos hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning to lift the Rays to the victory.

Blake Snell (9-4) allowed just three hits and one run in seven innings, but had to pitch around a career-high seven walks for his fifth straight win. Sergio Romo pitched for the third straight game, taking over with one out in the ninth and allowing one hit for his third save a night after blowing the save in Houston’s 5-4 win.

”We didn’t hit enough and we were shut down by a pretty good pitcher,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”We kept putting up pretty decent at-bats, but that big hit just eluded us again. We kept fighting until the end but just didn’t have enough offense.”

Matt Duffy doubled to start the eighth and advanced to third on a groundout by Jake Bauers. The Rays took a 2-1 lead when the single by Ramos sailed just over the head of a leaping Yuli Gurriel and into left field to allow Duffy to score.

Cron snapped a career-long 0 for 23 slump with a solo homer with one out in the second inning to give Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. It was the first hit since June 12 for Cron, who struck out 18 times during his hitless streak.

The Rays have struggled to win close games this season and had lost seven of their last eight games decided by one run before Tuesday’s win.

”Things kind of went our way,” manager Kevin Cash said. ”It’s amazing how those pop up in all those games but it’s nice to pull one out where there wasn’t any mistakes. The walks are the only thing that you’d like to have back but you’ll take the performance.”

Justin Verlander yielded six hits and one run while fanning 10 in 6 2/3 innings.

”It was a pretty good day for me, but it was a pretty good day for the other guy, too,” Verlander said. ”Classic pitchers’ duel. I wish we could’ve come out on top, but … it happens.”

Hector Rondon (1-2) took the loss by allowing two hits and one run in one inning.

The Astros had plenty of opportunities to score Darius Leonard Youth Jersey , but came up short again and again. They loaded the bases with one out in the first inning, but Carlos Gomez caught a fly ball hit by Evan Gattis and his throw home was in time to leave George Springer out at home to end the inning.

Springer was on second base with one out in the third inning when Bregman singled to send him home and tie it at 1-1. Bregman tried to stretch the hit into a double, but Gomez made a perfect throw from right field to leave him out at second.

Snell struck out the side in the fourth, capped by a three-pitch strikeout of Marwin Gonzalez that led to his ejection. Gonzalez argued with home plate umpire Pat Hoberg before throwing his bat and helmet and being tossed. He kept barking at Hoberg after the ejection and continued yelling at him until third base coach Gary Pettis pulled him away and pushed him toward the dugout.

Snell walked Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa with no outs in the sixth. But Gurriel grounded into a double play and Snell retired Tony Kemp after intentionally walking Gattis to leave Houston empty-handed.

Adeiny Hechavarria doubled with two outs in the seventh inning to chase Verlander. Hector Rondon took over and retired Kevin Kiermaier to end the inning. Kiermaier went 0 for 5 in his return after sitting out since April 15 after tearing a ligament in his right thumb which required surgery.

The Astros had a runner on first base with two outs in the seventh when Springer hit a long fly ball to right-center that Kiermaier nabbed as he leapt on the warning track before crashing into the wall of the bullpen.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) felt good after playing catch on Tuesday but likely won’t return from the disabled list until Houston’s next homestand, which begins on July 5.

TOP OF THE HEAP

Houston second baseman Jose Altuve led all players in fan voting for the All-Star game with 1,572,101 votes in the second update on voting released on Tuesday. The 2017 AL MVP leads the majors in hits (102) and average (.342) and was the first player to reach 100 hits this season.

”I think it’s well-deserved for someone who represents our game in exceptional fashion,” Hinch said. ”The voters are getting it right. He’s every bit what’s right about baseball. I’m happy he’s getting the recognition he deserves … he’s as perfect of a player as there is.”

UP NEXT

Tampa Bay’s Nathan Eovaldi (8-4, 2.58 ERA) opposes Houston’s Charlie Morton (8-1, 2.94) in the series finale on Wednesday night. Eovaldi, who grew up in suburban Houston, is 1-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. Morton struck out nine in six innings of a win over Kansas City in his last start.


Kawhi Leonard has a new team Andy Dalton Jersey , and Gregg Popovich isn’t the coach.

This is where the San Antonio Spurs are at right now, as this impasse between the franchise and its best player continues even as the season is almost certainly winding down. There are only questions, no answers.

How is Leonard doing? The Spurs act like they don’t know. Leonard isn’t saying, either. He hasn’t been around the Spurs so far in these playoffs, rehabbing in New York, and Popovich is deferring questions to ”Kawhi and his group.”

That’s ironic. Unwillingness to answer certain questions is part of the Spurs’ mystique. Popovich can be an interviewer’s dream or an interviewer’s nightmare, but now, it’s the Spurs who are the ones seemingly frustrated by the lack of answers. Their best player was barely around this season, and with the Spurs looking almost certain to be knocked out of the playoffs soon by Golden State an offseason of what’s next is looming.

Leonard won’t be on the floor for the Spurs in Game 3 when their first-round series against the Warriors resumes on Thursday in San Antonio. We can also say how unlikely it is he will not be in Game 4 on Sunday or in Game 5 if San Antonio finds a way to extend this series. The official reason remains ”return from injury management” from what began as right quadriceps tendinopathy.

That’s why when Popovich lauds another player – in this case, LaMarcus Aldridge, who has been the first option in San Antonio with Leonard gone – the narrative immediately turns to whether the Spurs coach is throwing shade.

”LaMarcus has been a monster all year long,” Popovich said Monday after the Spurs fell into a 2-0 series hole against the Warriors. ”He’s led our team at both ends of the floor. He doesn’t complain about a darned thing out on the court. He just plays through everything. I can’t imagine being more proud of a player as far as playing through adversity and being there for his teammates night after night after night.”

It’s entirely possible that Popovich was merely complimenting Aldridge.

It’s entirely possible that Popovich was throwing a subtle jab at Leonard Reuben Foster Jersey Limited , too.

Aldridge was asked by USA Today Sports about Leonard postgame and declined comment, other than saying ”he has to do what’s best for him.” And that’s most understandable.

Leonard – who is under contract for next season already, and has a player option that he can exercise in 2019 – will be eligible to be offered the supermax contract this summer, a five-year deal worth around $220 million. It’s unknown if that offer is coming. It’s unknown if Leonard would accept, anyway. He may just want to start over elsewhere.

His caution in coming back to playing is understandable. There are two oft-cited parallels that Leonard needs to avoid. Grant Hill shortened his career by trying to come back too soon from injury, and Isaiah Thomas – once certain he would get a max deal – faces a very uncertain future because of hip issues exacerbated by playing when he was hurt.

Aldridge is right. Leonard has to do what’s best.

That means it’s entirely possible the next time Popovich gets to use Leonard in a game will be in 2019 – when USA Basketball heads to the FIBA World Cup. Popovich has taken over for Mike Krzyzewski as national coach, and Leonard is one of the 35 players under consideration for that team. There’s a minicamp for the U.S. squad in Las Vegas this summer, and if Leonard is there, his dynamic with Popovich will be a huge storyline.

The Spurs have themselves to blame for at least part of this mystery.

There’s always been a secretive air to them. Answers are not easy to get from the Spurs, which sometimes gets construed as arrogance. David Robinson was engaging, but hardly an open book. Tim Duncan prided himself on revealing as little as possible. Popovich gives incredibly deep and thoughtful answers on many topics, but that list rarely includes his own team.

Leonard Carlton Davis Buccaneers Jersey , who appeared in nine games in the regular season, has been the same way.

He doesn’t drop hints on Twitter, doesn’t vent on Snapchat, isn’t one for long-winded answers. Among the few times he really lets himself loose in the public eye is when the Spurs tape their annual commercials for the grocery chain H-E-B , one spot sillier and funnier than the next – like the one where Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, using horrible British accents in an effort to seem fancy, ask Leonard if he wants some steak and he replies, ”indubitably.”

Happy times like those seem so long ago. It’s close to impossible to envision this having a happy ending.

Indubitably.

Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org

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