Houston has now won eight straight

Astros complete four-game sweep of Rockies to extend winning streak

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After an offensive explosion the night prior, the Astros returned to Coors Field in Denver on Thursday afternoon, trying to complete the dual-city four-game sweep of the Rockies. Here are the highlights from the game:

Final Score: Astros 10, Rockies 8.

Record: 15-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brooks Raley (1-0, 7.45 ERA).

Losing pitcher: German Marquez (2-4, 4.38 ERA).

Plenty of early offense

After a scoreless first inning, Houston was able to pick up where they left off on Wednesday night, putting up big innings. In the top of the second, Kyle Tucker hit his second triple in the last two games, driving in the first run of the day to give the Astros the early 1-0 lead. They went on to score four more on RBI-singles by Martin Maldonado and George Springer and a two-RBI double by Jose Altuve.

Unlike Framber Valdez, who was able to translate his recent success to Denver's thin air, Cristian Javier would not have as great of a start. After a scoreless first, the Rockies tagged Javier with a two-run home run in the bottom of the second to get some of the runs back that the Astros scored in the top half.

In the next inning, Nolan Arenado cut the lead to two runs with a solo shot, making it 5-3. He would go on to finish the inning, but after two outs in the fourth would give the ball to Dusty Baker as Brooks Raley would come on to end the inning. Javier's final line: 3.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

Houston reaches double digits again

Like in the second, Houston heated up again in the top of the fifth, starting with back-to-back singles by Altuve and Carlos Correa to start the inning. They would both score thanks to RBI-singles by Maldonado and Tucker, followed immediately by a three-run blast by Abraham Toro, giving the Astros five runs on three swings of the bat and extending their lead to 10-3.

Raley remained on the mound for the bottom of the fifth, allowing a leadoff double by Arenado to become a two-run home run by Ryan McMahon, his second of the game to trim the lead back to five runs at 10-5. He returned to face one more batter to start the bottom of the sixth, issuing a walk before Dusty Baker moved to Josh James.

James would suffer from some sporadic wind blowing the ball around, which caused Josh Reddick to misplay a fly ball that turned into a double, followed by a two-run double to make it a three-run game, 10-7. He would get three of the next four batters out, stranding two runners to end the frame, but would be yet another Houston player to come away injured, coming up hurt while running the last groundout to first base.

Houston completes the four-game sweep

Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen for Houston in the bottom of the seventh, getting the first hitless inning for the Astros by working around a two-out walk. He faced one more batter, leading off the bottom of the eighth, but would allow a single to prompt another call to the bullpen. Enoli Paredes came in and was able to work around a two-out walk to strand both runners and maintain the three-run lead.

After the Astros were retired in order in the top of the inning, Ryan Pressly entered for the save situation in the bottom of the ninth. Pressly allowed a leadoff triple but would limit the Rockies to just one run, finishing off the four-game sweep and extending Houston's streak to eight games.

Up Next: Houston will remain on the road this weekend, traveling to San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres. The opener of the set will be on Friday at 8:10 PM Central with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 5.47 ERA) on the mound for the Astros while San Diego's starter is TBD.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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