- Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015

HOUSTON (AP) - Jed Lowrie struck too late to help Houston win the game. At least he let the Astros avoid an embarrassment.

Lowrie broke up a combined no-hit bid by the Cleveland Indians with a one-out home run in the ninth inning in a 5-1 loss Thursday.

“It’s a weight lifted off the whole dugout, the whole team,” Lowrie said. “Hopefully it was good for morale.”

Indians starter Trevor Bauer was pulled after throwing 111 pitches through six innings. He struck out a career-high 11 and walked five.

Relievers Kyle Crockett and Scott Atchison each pitched a scoreless inning before Nick Hagadone took over.

Hagadone struck out Chris Carter to begin the ninth. Lowrie then sent a 94 mph fastball far over the left-center field wall for Houston’s only hit.

The Indians have not pitched a no-hitter since Len Baker threw a perfect game in 1981 against Toronto.

Bauer and the Cleveland relievers teamed to strike out 16 while walking seven.

Corey Kluber opened the Indians’ season Monday night by holding Houston hitless until Jose Altuve’s two-out single in the sixth.

There were five no-hitters in the majors last year, capped by Washington’s Jordan Zimmermann throwing a gem on the final day of the regular season.

Lowrie’s shot came 50 years to the day after a well-known home run in Houston history. The old Astrodome opened on this date in 1965 with an exhibition game, and Mickey Mantle hit the first home run inside the building.

The Astros struck out a total of 36 times in losing two of three to Cleveland. The Houston lineup features several players who either hit it far or don’t hit it at all.

The struggles have been especially bad for Houston’s 3-4-5 hitters of Luis Valbuena, Evan Gattis and Carter, who have combined to go 0 for 32 with 16 strikeouts.

Gattis, who is in his first year in Houston after a trade from Atlanta, struck out four times for the second straight game.

“I think this is the worst that I’ve been,” Gattis said. “I couldn’t play any worse if I tried.”

First-year manager A.J. Hinch insisted that he’s more concerned about things other than strikeouts.

“The strikeouts are what they are, the numbers pile up … I’m going to get asked about it every day, but the real crux of this is we had a chance to win a series and didn’t,” Hinch said. “That’s what we get on the plane disappointed about.”

Roberto Perez and Jose Ramirez homered for Cleveland.

Astros starter Asher Wojciechowski (0-1) gave up four runs and eight hits in four-plus innings of his major league debut.

Manager Terry Francona tapped Crockett for the seventh with Bauer already well over 100 pitches. He kept the free-swinging Astros off-balance with a fastball between 92-94 mph and offspeed pitches that dipped into the mid-to-low 80s.

Bauer worked around four walks in the first two innings.

Michael Bourn hit a leadoff double, Ramirez singled and Jason Kipnis made it 1-0 with a sacrifice fly.

Yan Gomes doubled to start the second and scored on a two-out single by Perez to make it 2-0.

Perez homered in the fourth and Ramirez connected in the fifth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Indians: LF Michael Brantley was out of the lineup for a second straight day because of lower-back stiffness. He was removed from the lineup about 80 minutes before Wednesday night’s game. Brantley missed time in spring training with a similar problem. Francona doesn’t think the problem is serious but says Brantley will be examined by doctors in Cleveland on Friday morning. Brantley was an All-Star for the first time last season.

Astros: Pitcher Brad Peacock (hip surgery) is scheduled to make his first rehabilitation start for Triple-A Fresno on Thursday night. Hinch said Peacock will likely need several outings with the Grizzlies to build up innings before returning to Houston.

ASTRODOME ANNIVERSARY

The Colt .45s beat the New York Yankees 2-1 in that first game in the Astrodome on April 9, 1965, in front of more than 47,000 fans. As the world’s first domed stadium it was dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” when it opened. President Lyndon B. Johnson attended the game as did Texas governor John Connally, who threw out the first pitch.

UP NEXT

Indians: The Indians get to check out the renovations made to Progressive Field in the offseason when Zach McAllister opposes Detroit’s Alfredo Simon in their home opener.

Astros: RHP Collin McHugh looks to stretch his career-long winning streak to eight games when he opposes Derek Holland and the Texas Rangers on Friday. McHugh hasn’t lost since July 27 of last season and an eight-game winning streak would be the longest by and Astro since Roy Oswalt won nine straight from Aug. 23, 2006-April 17, 2007.

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