HOUSTON -- Astros closer Ken Giles took full responsibility for his team's ninth-inning meltdown Tuesday night, though he wasn't the only culprit. An unfortunate bounce through the legs of catcher Jason Castro for a wild pitch and some timely two-out hitting by the Rangers in the ninth helped to send the Astros their sixth loss in seven games, 3-2, at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros' slump couldn't be coming at a worse time, considering they're 4 1/2 games out in the American League Wild Card race with only 17 games remaining. To make matter worse, they're chasing four teams in the standings.
If they miss the playoffs by a hair, they'll bemoan the ninth inning Tuesday.
"Just things didn't go our way, go my way," Giles said. "It was my responsibility to shut the guys down and I didn't do my job today. I take full responsibility for that. I didn't make the pitches when I needed to. I'm going to take the good from the bad and just bounce back for the guys next time."
Giles, who had converted nine saves in a row, entered the game in the ninth with a 2-1 lead and got Adrian Beltre to bounce out to shortstop. Rougned Odor swung and missed on a sharp slider with two strikes that bounced under the glove and through the legs of Castro, rolling into foul territory enough to allow Odor reach first base as the tying run.
Odor got a good jump and stole second base on a high throw from Castro before Giles got Mitch Moreland to strike out for the second out. The Astros were one out away from winning, but the next two swings were disastrous for Houston.
Elvis Andrus destroyed a 97 mph fastball and sent it 405 feet over the head of center fielder Jake Marisnick for a game-tying triple, and Jurickson Profar shot the next pitch into left field to score Andrus and put the Rangers ahead, 3-2.
"It's totally difficult," Giles said. "We need to win these games, and I feel bad. My head's down because I let my teammates down. They worked so hard today and they bust their butts today and I didn't do my job today. I didn't come through for my teammates, but I know I'm going to bounce back for them next time when they need me and I'm going to take the positives from it."
The Astros have lost 23 of their last 28 games against the Rangers, including 15 of 18 this year. Astros manager A.J. Hinch disagreed when asked following Tuesday's game if he felt his team was in trouble when Odor reached in the ninth.
"The reality is these guys have a lot of pride in our clubhouse," he said. "We have a lot of intensity in our competitiveness. We have a lot of winning players. To follow the narrative of 'There's doomsday coming' is just not going to be accepted, it's not going to be how it is. They came out and beat us by putting together a really good ninth inning against a really good pitcher and no more than that.
"We can't replay the games that we've faced these guys, but to concede or to think that something bad is going to happen is garbage. That's not going to happen."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.