Astros start the homestand with a win

Altuve returns, Urquidy deals as Astros take opener against Rangers

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a disappointing road trip behind them, the Astros set their sights on the final two-week stretch of games leading up to the end of the regular season. They started this week, and their last homestand, with the opener of a three-game set against the Rangers. Here is how the game unfolded:

Final Score: Astros 4, Rangers 1.

Record: 24-24, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.70 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Nick Goody (0-1, 7.45 ERA).

Springer homers while Urquidy carves up the Rangers

George Springer felt right at home in the bottom of the first, as he would demolish a ball 455 feet for a leadoff solo home run to put the Astros ahead 1-0. Houston had a chance to expand their lead exponentially in the bottom of the second by loading the bases with no outs but grounded into a double play then popped out as the Rangers would navigate through the jam without allowing any damage.

It looked like the one run may go a long way through the first four innings, as Jose Urquidy was carving up the Rangers' lineup through four perfect frames. The Rangers would get their first hit in the top of the fifth, then back that up with two more, one an RBI-single to tie the game 1-1. That would be the only blemish on Urquidy's night, as he would follow that one-run fifth with two more perfect innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0 HR, 90 P.

Astros start the homestand with a win

Just like in the second, the Astros found themselves in a prime spot to do some damage against Texas in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases again with no outs. After a force out at home for the first out, Alex Bregman would finally break through, dropping a two-RBI single into left field to give Houston a 3-1 lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Urquidy to start the top of the eighth and sat down the bottom of Texas' order for a 1-2-3 inning. Martin Maldonado provided an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, hitting a two-out solo homer into the Crawford Boxes to extend the lead to 4-1. Ryan Pressly would take over for the save opportunity in the top of the ninth and converted it as Houston moved back up to .500 on the year at 24-24 with the win to start the series.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will start at 7:10 PM Central on Wednesday. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-2, 5.79 ERA) will attempt another start for the Astors after a stint on the IL, while Kyle Gibson (1-5, 6.14 ERA) will be on the mound for the Rangers.

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Houston's magic number stays at 2

Astros drop series finale to Mariners after rough start by Greinke

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With their magic number at 2 to secure their spot in the 2020 MLB postseason, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park in Seattle for this three-game series' finale and rubber game. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Mariners 3, Astros 2.

Record: 28-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Nick Margevicius (2-3, 4.57 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-3, 4.03 ERA).

Greinke unable to complete five innings

While the Astros were being held scoreless, the Mariners were putting up runs on Zack Greinke. They took an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with back-to-back singles followed by an RBI-double with one out. Greinke would stop the damage there, then looked to settle in over the next few frames.

He allowed just one baserunner in the second through fourth innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Then, in the fifth, the Mariners would knock him out of the game by getting a one-out single that would come around to score on a two-out RBI-double, followed by an RBI-single to extend the lead to 3-0. Greinke faced one more batter, allowing a single before Dusty Baker would take the ball and move to the bullpen. His final line: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 92 P.

Astros try a late rally, come up short

On the other end, the Astros were unable to break through against Nick Margevicius, getting just one hit and two walks through the first four innings. They had a chance to get on the board in the top of the fifth, starting the inning with back-to-back singles before a walk loaded the bases with one out to turn the lineup over. They'd come up empty, though, with George Springer striking out before a long flyball to center by Jose Altuve to end the inning.

After finishing the fifth for Greinke, Andre Scrubb returned for a scoreless sixth, working around a one-out walk. Still 3-0, Blake Taylor took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, erasing a leadoff single and two-out walk to keep Seattle from extending their lead. Houston had another chance to score in the top of the eighth, getting two runners in scoring position, but again would strand them.

Cy Sneed was the next reliever out for the Astros, working around a two-out walk to send the game on to the ninth. The Astros would avoid the shutout, getting a two-RBI single by pinch-hitting Josh Reddick in the top of the ninth to make it a one-run game at 3-2. That's as close as they'd come, though, as the Mariners would eventually get the final out to take the series and keep the Astros' magic number stagnant at 2.

Up Next: There is one series left in the regular season for Houston, and it awaits them in Arlington with a four-game series against the Rangers, who are well eliminated from playoff contention. The first of the four games will start at 7:05 PM Central on Thursday with a pitching matchup of Lance Lynn (6-2, 2.53 ERA) for Texas and Cristian Javier (4-2, 3.33 ERA) for the Astros.

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