Houston is in last place

Offensive and bullpen woes continue as Astros fall to Rockies

Houston's struggles continued Tuesday in Denver. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle to start this road trip, the Astros moved on to frigid Coors Field in Colorado to try and turn things around against the 4-12 Rockies. Although they'd have to scratch their original starter, Lance McCullers Jr., and instead go with Luis Garcia on the mound, they did receive a morale boost by getting four players back off the COVID IL: Alex Bregman, Martin Maldonado, Yordan Alvarez, and Robel Garcia.

The fresh bats wouldn't be enough to spark the offense, though, as the Astros would have yet another disappointing night at the plate, and out of the bullpen, in a loss to the Rockies:

Final Score: Rockies 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 7-9, fifth in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jon Gray (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Luis Garcia (0-1)

Rare low-scoring battle early before Houston strikes first

Something you don't see all that frequently: a low-scoring pitching battle in the thin air of Coors Field. It happened Tuesday night between Luis Garcia of the Astros and Jon Gray of the Rockies, though, with both offenses struggling to put together hits. Houston would get the scoring started in the top of the sixth, with Michael Brantley getting a one-out single then scoring on an RBI-double by Carlos Correa, making it a 1-0 lead.

Garcia fills in well, still gets dinged with runs

Meanwhile, Garcia, whose last appearance was an impressive 4.1 scoreless innings in relief out of the bullpen, was having a great start. After erasing a few baserunners through the first five scoreless, he would make it into the sixth, getting two outs in before allowing a single and hitting a batter, prompting a call to the bullpen. Bryan Abreu would enter and, before getting the third out, allowed a go-ahead two-RBI double, both runs charged to Garcia, making his final line 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 82 P.

Losing ways continue for the Astros

After the Astros stranded a runner in the top half of the inning, Ryne Stanek took over on the mound in the bottom of the seventh. He would allow a one-out solo home run while getting two outs before Dusty Baker brought in Brooks Raley to get the third. Raley remained in the game in the bottom of the eighth but would put two on base while getting one out before Houston moved on to Joe Smith.

Smith would watch C.J. Cron blow the game open, blasting a three-run homer to make it 6-1 and put it out of reach for the Astros. Houston would get a late run on an RBI by Aledmys Diaz in the top of the ninth but still falls to 7-9 on the year with the loss, falling deeper into a hole in the division.

Up Next: The second and final game of this short series between the Astros and Rockies will be an afternoon start Wednesday at 2:10 PM Central. Jose Urquidy (0-1, 4.50 ERA) for Houston and Austin Gomber (0-2, 3.52 ERA) for Colorado will each make their fourth start of the season.

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Kyle Tucker had a big day at the plate on Sunday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, with one team or the other putting on a solid offensive performance in each, the Astros tried to win their fourth series in their last five by taking the rubber game on Sunday against the Blue Jays. Thanks in part to a big day from Kyle Tucker, who played a significant role in the early offense they used to power to the win, they would accomplish their mission.

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 18-16, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-1)

Losing Pitcher: Nate Pearson (0-1)

Kyle Tucker helps lead the offense to seven unanswered runs

Houston did not go easy on Nate Pearson in his 2021 debut. After a scoreless first, the Astros loaded the bases on two walks and a single, then brought the first run of the day home on an RBI walk by Michael Brantley. Another walk opened the door in the bottom of the third, and Kyle Tucker capitalized with an RBI triple to make it 2-0, followed by an RBI single by Robel Garcia to make it a three-run lead, ending Pearson's day one out into the bottom of the third.

Things didn't get easier for Toronto's pitching in the next inning, as Jose Altuve would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer. A single and a walk then set up another big hit for Kyle Tucker, a three-run dinger to make it seven unanswered runs and giving Tucker four RBI on the day.

Blue Jays pound Greinke in the fifth

After four shutout innings to start his day on the mound, working around a few hits along the way, Zack Greinke tried to cash in on his team's offense to get another win on his record. He wouldn't be able to get it done, though, as Toronto would get after him in the top of the fifth. They would score four times amongst five batters that came to the plate, with a solo homer by Rowdy Tellez, a two-RBI double by Bo Bichette, and an RBI single by Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

That made it a 7-4 game, and with Greinke still not having recorded an out in the frame, Dusty Baker would lift him at 88 pitches in favor of Bryan Abreu, who would get a pop out and a double play to end the inning and keep the lead at three runs. Greinke's final line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston takes the series

No more runs would come on either side the rest of the way, with Kent Emanuel working around a single for a scoreless sixth, Ryne Stanek getting a 1-2-3 seventh, and Andre Scrubb doing the same in the eighth to set up Ryan Pressly for the save. Pressly would get the job done, sending the Blue Jays down in order, including two strikeouts to wrap up the win and giving Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros will stay at home to continue this homestand, welcoming in the Angels for three games starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central. The opener will feature a pitching matchup of Alex Cobb (1-2, 5.48 ERA) for Los Angeles and Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.28 ERA) for Houston.

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