Roberto Osuna blows the save to end Houston's winning streak

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 8-7 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After bludgeoning the Orioles 23-2 on Saturday to secure the series win, the Astros had the chance for a sweep and their ninth-straight victory on Sunday afternoon. Here is a recap of the finale in Baltimore:

Final Score: Orioles 8, Astros 7.

Record: 77-41, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Richard Bleier (3-0, 6.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Roberto Osuna (3-3, 3.04 ERA).

1) O's give Verlander grief 

Justin Verlander had a surprisingly rough outing against the Orioles on Sunday. It started in the bottom of the first when the Orioles would jump out to a 1-0 lead by scoring a run on three hits against him. After Houston took over 3-1 in the top of the second, Baltimore would keep getting to Verlander by getting another run on a couple of hits and a walk, trimming the lead to 3-2.

He settled back in after that, working around a double and hit batter in the third to maintain the lead then getting his first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. The Orioles would regain the lead against him in the bottom of the fifth, though, tagging him with two more runs before his pitch count would cause his day to end early.

While he left after five innings with his team down 4-3, Verlander was still able to make it five-straight double-digit strikeout games, getting eleven in his otherwise rough outing. His final line: 5 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR.

2) Correa showcases his power again

After going down 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, Houston was able to quickly take a lead of their own in the top of the second. Alex Bregman led the inning off by working a walk, followed by a single by Yordan Alvarez. That put two runners on base for Carlos Correa, who drilled a home run to left-center field, much like his monster the night before, giving him back-to-back games with a homer.

They would watch that lead dissipate over the next few innings as Verlander would give up the go-ahead runs in the fifth. Chris Devenski was first out of Houston's bullpen to pitch the bottom of the sixth, but he too would allow a run on a two-out RBI-single to extend Baltimore's lead to 5-3.

3) Houston mounts a comeback, Osuna blows the save

The Astros went to work against Baltimore's bullpen in the top of the seventh, getting runners on second and third with no outs after a couple of hits to start the inning. Jose Altuve drove in a run on an RBI-groundout to make it a one-run game, but they would strand two runners to remain down 5-4.

Will Harris was able to keep the score where it was by throwing a scoreless 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh with a little help from a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa. Correa led off the top of the next inning with a single, giving him a multi-hit game, but would become another stranded runner.

Joe Biagini took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and although he would load the bases with one out, would get out of the jam to keep it a one-run game going to the ninth. Houston had the top of their lineup up in the top of the ninth, and they put the first two runners aboard.

Michael Brantley came through for Houston, drilling a ball into the right-field corner and coming all the way around to score on a hit which would go down as a triple and an error instead of an inside-the-park home run, but either way gave Houston a 7-5 lead.

Roberto Osuna would be brought in to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, but instead allowed three runs including a two-run walk-off homer. The loss ended Houston's eight-game winning streak.

Up Next: Houston will stay on the road and start a new series with the White Sox in Chicago on Monday night. The opener will begin at 7:10 PM Central and the expected pitching matchup is Zack Greinke (11-4, 3.08 ERA) making his second start for Houston going against Dylan Cease (2-4, 6.00 ERA) for Chicago.

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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