Harrell gave up five hits and four runs in five innings and the Kansas City Royals got a 4-2 win over the Astros.
His third start of the season was strikingly similar to his first two. He allowed a run in the first inning and couldn’t find a way get out of the early hole.
Harrell (0-3) allowed a solo shot to Omar Infante on his seventh pitch of the game. After Infante’s line-drive homer to the Crawford Boxes in left field, Harrell began what he said has become a habitual tendency to fall behind in counts.
“No matter what happens, you’ve still got to make pitches,” Harrell said. “Sometimes bad luck is not really bad luck - it’s just making bad pitches.”
Including Infante, Harrell threw the first pitch for a ball to 11 of the first 12 batters he faced. On the second pitch against those 12 batters, Harrell fell to a 2-0 count twice and allowed hits twice, including a double to Eric Hosmer in the third inning. Infante scored on the play, putting the Royals up 3-1.
“I’ve got to get strike one,” Harrell said. “I need to throw strikes in 1-1 counts, too, because that really killed me tonight.”
Harrell has allowed 14 runs in three starts combined this season. He dropped his eighth straight decision dating back to last season and has not won a start since June 15. He led the American League last season with 17 losses.
“For a starting pitcher, it’s about going deep into the game,” Porter said. “You want your starting pitchers to give you a chance to win the game and don’t tax your bullpen. The biggest concern is the high pitch counts and the low number of innings.”
Rookie Yordano Ventura threw seven solid innings for first major league win, allowing four hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts in seven innings - both career highs - in his fifth major league start.
The Astros had just four hits, including a homer by Carlos Corporan in the fifth into the first row of the seats in right field to cut the lead to 4-2.
“It was just his mistake,” Corporan said. “He threw it 95, and it looked like a changeup because he usually throws 98. I put a good swing on it, but the guy had good stuff.”
Ventura got back on track after that and didn’t allow another hit until Matt Dominguez singled to start the seventh inning. He walked Jonathan Villar with two outs, but ended the threat and his night when he retired Dexter Fowler after a short coaching visit to the mound. Wade Davis pitched a perfect eighth before Greg Holland struck out the side in the ninth for his fourth save.