Rockies Extend Houston's Woes
Offense Musters Just Three Hits

Marquez: Three-hitter over seven
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
The Astros need to put their offense in the Lost and Found. A three-hit performance by German Marquez was enough that even Justin Verlander couldn't withstand it. Houston and Verlander lost to Colorado, 5-1, on Tuesday night as the white-hot Oakland A's won again to get within a game of first place in the AL West.

Verlander actually shut the hard-hitting Rockies out for the first five innings and took a 1-0 lead on Josh Reddick's RBI single in the fifth but Nolan Arenado turned the game around with a two-run homer in the sixth that pushed the Astros to a franchise record ninth-straight home defeat.

Colorado played "add on" with single tallies in the last three innings to build on their lead which put them a game behind Arizona and a game ahead of the Dodgers in the wild N.L. West race.

The Astros are 0-5 on the homestand, losers of six straight and looking less like world champions with each time out. The home series mercifully ends Wednesday night with a 7:10 pm Central battle with the Rox. Gerrit Cole (10-5), loser of his last three outings, tries to stop the bleeding as he faces lefthander Tyler Anderson (6-4).

Help is on the horizon. George Springer is expected to come off the disabled list when the Astros travel to Oakland on Friday. Brian McCann will begin an extended rehab assignment Thursday in Fresno. Reliever Chris Devenski is expected back soon if room can be found on the roster for him. There's still no firm timetable on Jose Altuve and his sore right knee.

After a day off Thursday, the Astros will face the Athletics head-on to begin a nine-game West Coast swing that will set the starting positions for the September stretch run.

- Bob Hulsey