Houston evens the series

Astros back up Greinke's impressive start to even series with A's

Astros' Zack Greinke
Greinke tossed another impressive game Wednesday. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Greinke tossed another impressive game Wednesday.

After watching Oakland get the walk-off win in the opener, Houston entered Wednesday's middle game needing a win to force a rubber game to decide the series and who would leave it on top of the division. The offense and Zack Greinke would get it done, with the Astros putting together a late barrage of runs to back up their starter, who tossed another gem.

Final Score: Astros 8, A's 1

Astros' Record: 25-18, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Frankie Montas (5-3)

Trading early runs

Once again, just like the night before, the Astros would get two runs in the top of the first before Oakland could get to the plate. The first run came on the very first pitch, as Jose Altuve would turn a slider around 396 feet over the left-field wall. They would get a runner in scoring position with two outs, setting up an RBI single by Carlos Correa to double the first-inning lead. Oakland responded with a run in the bottom of the second, a two-out RBI double against Zack Grienke, making it a 2-1 game.

Houston blows it open late

That score stayed put all the way into the seventh inning, where the Astros would add to their lead with a two-out rally. Alex Bregman started it with a walk, then moved to second on a Yordan Alvarez single. Both would then score on a deep two-run double by Yuli Gurriel.

He would come around to score in the next at-bat, an RBI single by Carlos Correa to make it a four-run game at 5-1. Houston kept scoring against Oakland's bullpen in the next inning, as an RBI single by Michael Brantley and two-RBI double, bringing him to four on the night, made it an 8-1 Houston advantage.

Greinke goes eight innings, Astros get the win

While Greinke was undoubtedly grateful for the insurance, he was doing just fine without it, holding his own against the A's. His run allowed in the second would be his one and only, rebounding and finding a rhythm to finish eight frames for the second time this season. His final line: 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 89 P.

That left just one inning to cover for Houston's bullpen, a task given to Kent Emanuel. He would finish things off, moving the Astros back to a half-game behind Oakland in the division, setting up a critical rubber game on Thursday.

Up Next: Thursday's series finale will be an afternoon start, with the game getting underway at 2:37 PM Central. Luis Garcia (1-3, 3.34 ERA) for Houston will go up against Cole Irvin (3-4, 3.02 ERA) for Oakland.

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Astros defeat Tigers, 4-1. Composite Getty Image.

Ronel Blanco had the second hitless outing of his brief major league career but was pulled after seven innings as the Houston Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on Sunday.

Blanco (7-2), who threw the only no-hitter in the majors this season on April 1 against Toronto, was just as good this time in the 20th start and 37th appearance of his career. The 30-year-old right-hander threw 94 pitches with 65 strikes and tied a season best with eight strikeouts. He walked three.

Ryan Pressly replaced Blanco to start the eighth and gave up the Tigers' first hit, a two-out single by Wenceel Pérez.

Jose Altuve hit a three-run homer for Houston.

The Tigers couldn’t do much of anything against Blanco a day after they had a season-high 19 hits in a 13-5 trouncing of the Astros.

Blanco didn’t allow a baserunner until he walked Gio Urshela with two outs in the fifth.

He then walked Akil Baddoo and Carson Kelly to load the bases, but retired Zach McKinstry on a flyout.

Blanco made a good defensive play for the second out of the sixth when he grabbed a comebacker hit by Matt Vierling. He then sat down Riley Greene on a popup.

Urshela reached with two outs in the seventh on a throwing error by third baseman Alex Bregman. Blanco then retired Baddoo on a fly ball that center fielder Jake Meyers caught on the warning track to end the right-hander’s day.

After the hit by Pérez, Pressly sat down Vierling before Josh Hader took over for the ninth. Mark Canha singled with one out and scored on a double by pinch-hitter Andy Ibánez.

Urshela grounded out and Hader struck out pinch-hitter Jake Rogers to end it.

Detroit starter Kenta Maeda (2-3) permitted five hits and four runs in five innings.

Altuve hit a leadoff single before moving to second on a wild pitch with one out. The Astros took a 1-0 lead when he scored on a single by Yordan Alvarez.

Mauricio Dubón singled with one out in the second and Chas McCormick drew a two-out walk. Altuve made it 4-0 with his shot to center field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Manager Joe Espada said RHP Justin Verlander, who was scratched from Saturday’s start with neck discomfort, was feeling better Sunday and could start in the team’s next series against the Chicago White Sox. … RHP Luis Contreras was selected to the major league roster to take the place of RHP Nick Hernandez, who was optioned to Triple-A Sugar Land Saturday night. To make room for Contreras on the 40-man roster, RHP Cristian Javier, who recently had Tommy John surgery, was transferred to the 60-day injured list.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Reese Olson (1-8, 3.68 ERA) starts for Detroit against Braves LHP Max Fried (6-3, 3.20) in the opener of a three-games series at Atlanta Monday night.

Astros: Houston is off Monday before opening a three-game series at the White Sox Tuesday night. The Astros haven’t announced their starters for the series.

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