He had not played an inning or taken a single at bat, but Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane easily identified why his team was sullenly gathering up its belongings and heading disappointedly into the offseason.

"If we could have gotten that one big hit, we could have won that game," McLane said. "We just didn't get that hit."

The Astros lost Game 4 of the World Series to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday night because of their inability to produce much offensively. The fourth and fifth batters in Houston's order were a combined 5 for 33 (.152) during the series.

The Astros stranded nine men on base and were 0 for 11 with runners in scoring position in Game 4. The last time the Astros scored a run was in the eighth inning of Tuesday's 7-5, 14-inning loss. Sixty-seven batters came to the plate since the last Houston run.

"We just didn't come up with the big hits," utility player Chris Burke said. "In the end if you do that, you're going to lose."

Houston's offensive woes were not a shock because they had struggled to score runs all season. Second baseman Craig Biggio wasn't surprised it ended this way.

"I guess it's fitting," Biggio said. "How many times did we get shut out this year?"

The answer was 17, but none was more painful than Wednesday's loss. Even the last out seemed to be a reminder of Houston's offensive struggles.

With the tying run on second base, Astros pinch hitter Orlando Palmeiro hit a soft ground ball that bounced over the head of Chicago closer Bobby Jenks. The ball rolled gently on the grass. Shortstop Jose Uribe fielded the ball and then threw to first base to nab Palmeiro by half a step.

Palmeiro walked slowly to the dugout with his helmet in hand. The game and season were over.

"It's been a trait of ours all year and we managed to win even though we hadn't done that," Astros Manager Phil Garner said of his team's inability to score runs.

"What you saw is some of our typical games. And we managed to somehow get through it and we just didn't eke it out this time."

The Astros have three of the best pitchers in baseball in Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte and Roy Oswalt, yet it took the fourth member of that rotation, the most anonymous one, to put a scare into the White Sox. But the Astros could not drive in a run for Brandon Backe.

Perhaps no player bore the weight of such a slump more than third baseman Morgan Ensberg, who in the regular season led the team in home runs and RBI, but in the World Series batted just .111.

It perhaps spoke loudly of Houston's lack of offense that it only took Ensberg 101 RBI to lead the team during the regular season.

Ensberg's most painful moment of the night came in the eighth inning when he came to the plate with runners on first and second with the Astros trailing 1-0. Ensberg flied out to center field and returned to the dugout with his head bowed. A night earlier, Ensberg had struck out on a slow curveball against reliever Orlando Hernandez in Houston's best scoring opportunity in the 14-inning loss.

Ensberg sat slumped in the dugout after making that out Wednesday. It was not hard to understand why.

Astros owner Drayton McLane hugs Manager Phil Garner after the team's season-ending loss.