Astros win the series

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 7-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros had one more game on the road before returning home; a rubber game in the three-game series with the Indians in Cleveland. A win would end their road trip with their fourth-straight series win. Here is how the game shaped up:

Final Score: Astros 7, Indians 1.

Record: 70-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (13-5, 2.87 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Danny Salazar (0-1, 4.50 ERA).

1) Springer starts things with a bang

George Springer did not welcome Danny Salazar back to a major-league mound with an easy out. Instead, Springer launched the third pitch of the game for a dinger to put Houston up 1-0 immediately. That would be the only run scored through the first three innings, with the next coming off the bat of Alex Bregman with a solo home run of his own to double the lead at 2-0.

Springer would come around to score again later in the game, working a one-out walk in the top of the seventh. He moved to second on a single by Jose Altuve, then scored on an RBI-double by Michael Brantley, making it a 3-1 Houston lead. That brought Bregman back to the plate, and he delivered an RBI-single to extend the lead further to 4-1, and also put him a triple shy of the cycle.

2) Not a lot of Ks, but still another terrific start for Cole 

While Gerrit Cole did not increase his league-best strikeout number by as much as usual on Thursday night, it didn't mean his start was any less successful. Cole allowed just one run, which after putting runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom of the fourth, was a gift.

He received some terrific defense behind him, both with a great catch by Springer on a sac fly that could've been more runs, then on a laser from Josh Reddick on another fly ball to throw a runner out at home to end the inning and the threat.

Getting some quick non-strikeout outs allowed Cole to go another deep start, finishing seven innings for the sixth time in his last seven games, and making it four straight seven-inning one-run starts. His final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4K, 0 HR.

3) Taking the series win

Houston's offense battled again in the top of the eighth, loading the bases with one out to set up a sacrifice fly for Michael Brantley, his second RBI of the night to extend the lead to 5-1. After Bregman worked a walk to load the bases again, Yordan Alvarez drove in two more runs on a two-RBI double to make it 7-1.

With Cole's night done after his seven innings, Houston turned things over to their bullpen to close out the win. Hector Rondon would get a couple of quick outs but then loaded the bases, prompting another call to the bullpen. Joe Smith would get out of the jam to end the eighth, then Chris Devenski closed out the win with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Up Next: The Astros will fly back to Houston tonight to start a three-game series with the Mariners at home tomorrow night. The series opener will begin at 7:10 PM and the expected pitching matchup is Wade Miley (9-4, 3.06 ERA) for Houston going against Yusei Kikuchi (4-7, 5.21 ERA) for Seattle.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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