Astros demolish Orioles for eighth straight win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 23-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After holding off the Orioles for their seventh-straight win in the series opener on Friday night, Houston had the chance to make it eight straight and secure another series win with a victory on Saturday night. Here's a quick rundown of the middle game:

Final Score: Astros 23, Orioles 2.

Record: 77-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.60 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Aaron Brooks (2-6, 6.35 ERA).

1) Clear for liftoff 

After being held to just three runs the night before, Houston's offense had their way with Baltimore on Saturday night. It started in the top of the first when Alex Bregman got the scoring started with a two-out two-run home run. On the very next pitch, Yordan Alvarez extended the early lead to 3-0 with a solo home run of his own.

They did even better in the top of the second, getting a five-run inning on RBIs from Alex Bregman and Josh Reddick, a two-run homer for Jose Altuve, and scoring on a balk. They scored again in the top of the third, a monster 474-foot home run by Carlos Correa to push the lead to 9-1. They didn't hold back there, putting up another four-run inning in the top of the fifth with RBIs from Correa and Yuli Gurriel and two for George Springer, extending the lead to 13-1.

2) Sanchez gets another win 

While his offense was bludgeoning pitchers on the other side, Aaron Sanchez was able to put together another decent start himself for his new team. It wasn't a six-inning no-hitter like his debut, but he was able to hold the Orioles to just one run over five innings of work.

The run came in the first inning, a rough one for Sanchez as he would load the bases with one out. He allowed a sacrifice fly to trim the lead to 3-1 at the time but would end the threat there. He faced more traffic in the second inning after a couple of walks and an error but would do well to keep the Orioles to just one run on the board.

After that, he was able to record three clean innings, allowing just one hit during that span on a two-out double in the fifth. The five innings put him in line for another win, making it two straight for his new team. Sanchez's final line: 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 0 HR.

3) Bullpen finishes the last four frames while runs keep scoring

With Sanchez's night done after five innings, Houston looked to their bullpen to maintain the massive lead over the final four frames. First up was Hector Rondon who took over for Sanchez in the sixth inning. He worked around a couple of hits to keep it a thirteen-run lead.

Houston was not done scoring in this one, though, getting another run in the top of the sixth to make it 14-1, then making it their highest-scoring game of the year with a six-run top of the seventh. They scored the first two on RBIs from Jose Altuve and Jake Marisnick, then loaded the bases for Yordan Alvarez who blasted his second homer of the night, this one a grand slam to push Houston ahead to an incredible 20-1 lead.

Joe Smith was the next reliever out for Houston, taking over in the 20-1 game in the bottom of the seventh. He allowed a two-out solo home run to make it 20-2 but would get through the inning to send the game to the eighth. Chris Devenski pitched a scoreless eighth, then after an RBI by Aledmys Diaz in the top of the ninth, Yordan Alvarez hit his third home run of the night to set a new franchise records in runs in a game and trying the record for hits, pushing the lead to 23-2.

Collin McHugh wrapped things off in the ninth, giving Houston their eighth straight win and seventh-straight series victory.

Up Next: Houston will attempt the sweep of this series with the finale scheduled for 12:05 PM Central on Sunday. The Astros will send ace Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.68 ERA) to the mound with hopes to continue his march towards a Cy Young award, while the Orioles are expected to counter with Asher Wojciechowski (2-5, 4.89 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans


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