Houston ends their losing streak

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 4-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With their string of bad luck and unexpectedly bad baseball continuing throughout the week and adding up to a five-game losing streak, the Astros were likely desperate to right the ship and avoid a four-game series sweep with a win on Sunday. Here is a quick recap of the finale with the A's:

Final Score: Astros 4, A's 1.

Record: 79-46, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (13-4, 2.84 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brett Anderson (10-9, 4.06 ERA).

1) Great start for Greinke, gets win number 200

Zack Greinke got out to a hot start on Sunday afternoon, getting through the first three innings perfectly by retiring all nine batters in order and doing so with a very low pitch count. The A's struck first though, getting their first hit with a leadoff solo home run to start the bottom of the fourth inning and go up 1-0.

Greinke struggled a little more in that inning, allowing a walk and a single to give Oakland a chance to extend their lead, but he was able to strand them and get out of the inning. He would go on to hold Oakland scoreless over the next three innings, completing seven innings while allowing just one run en route to another win.

His final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 HR. The win was number 200 for Greinke's career, moving him up another spot in the all-time win leaders list.

2) Bregman breaks Houston out of the slump

After wasting multiple chances early in the game, resulting in five stranded runners through the first four innings, the Astros were able to finally break through in the fifth. Back-to-back singles to start the inning gave Houston a couple of baserunners, with a groundout for the first out moving Josh Reddick to third.

Instead of tying the game on a sacrifice fly, the second out was a ball to shallow to allow Reddick to tag home. That brought Alex Bregman to the plate, and he was able to get Houston their first runs of the day with a two-out three-run home run to put the Astros in front 3-1.

After a leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the sixth, Yuli Gurriel would extend Houston's lead to 4-1 with an RBI-double into the left-field corner. With Greinke's day done after seven terrific innings, Houston went to their bullpen starting in the eighth with Ryan Pressly who kept the three-run lead by tossing a scoreless inning. Roberto Osuna took over in the ninth and earned the save by finishing off the win to end Houston's losing streak.

Up Next: The Astros will be flying back to Houston on Sunday before kicking off a ten-game homestand with a four-game series with the Tigers starting on Monday night. The opening pitching matchup is expected to be Wade Miley (11-4, 3.11 ERA) for Houston going against Edwin Jackson (3-5, 8.62 ERA) for Detroit.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Yordan Alvarez already has 11 home runs this season. Composite image by Jack Brame.

That didn’t take long. The baseball season is only 1/5th done and everything is going to script. The best teams are in first place, ace pitchers are firing on all cylinders and big boppers are balling. For the most part. Joey Gallo can’t hit .191 forever. We might want to revisit that, however.

Pretty much baseball could call off the season, start the post-season with the teams on top now, and save everybody the time and trouble until November when the Astros hire A.J. Hinch to replace Dusty Baker after the Astros win the World Series.

That’s not a prediction. That’s a spoiler. Free dining room furniture for everybody!

As the great philosopher Bobby Heenan once said, “No matter how hard you shake the bottle, the cream will always rise to the top.” The American League division leaders are the Astros, Yankees and Twins. The Angels, Rays and Blue Jays are in wildcard position.

Nobody else in the American League is above .500. You know Newton’s first law of motion – an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction. That goes for American League baseball, too.

National League division leaders are the Dodgers, Mets and Brewers. They ain’t going nowhere. The Padres, Giants and Cards round out the wildcard picture. Done.

Let’s look at the results for MLB’s 2022 individual awards.

American League MVP: Mike Trout. After missing most of last year with a nagging leg injury that wouldn’t heal, Trout is up to his old tricks. He’s mashing .310 with 8 homers and leading the Los Angeles Angels to a surprising 24-14 record and, here’s something new, playoff contention. This will be his fourth MVP. He’s just 30 years old. The record is seven, held by Barry Bonds. It’s a shaky record for the obvious.

National League MVP: Manny Machado. Unlike the NBA, or so it seems, personality and likability don’t matter to baseball’s MVP voters. Machado is raking .359 with .443 on base percentage and 1.029 OPS. That’s Cooperstown stuff.

American League Cy Young Award: Coming off Tommy John surgery that cost him two seasons, Justin Verlander is 5-1 with an itty 1.38 ERA. It’s a shock when the other team scores a run. Verlander could double up the Cy Young Award with Comeback Player of the Year.

National League Cy Young Award: Max Scherzer, 4-2 and still throwing 95 mph, same as he did as a rookie in 2008, says anything Verlander can do, he can do better. One better. If Verlander wins his third Cy Young this year, Scherzer will get his fourth, while leading the Mets back to prominence. Pretty impressive for a guy suffering from heterochromia iridum.

American League Home Run King: Let’s give it to Aaron Judge, 12 homers thus far, over Yordan Alvarez and Byron Buxton with 11 bombs. How many times have we heard, “that ball would be a home run in only one MLB park, Yankee Stadium.” Yeah, the Crawford Boxes are cozy, but Yankee Stadium makes Minute Maid Park look like a West Texas cow pasture.

National League Home Run King: Pete Alonso of the refurbished Mets. He’s a one-tool guy, but that one tool is putting a ball into orbit.

Rookie of the Year: Astros shortstop Jeremy Pena, unless his “day to day” injury status turns into weeks to weeks, Astros-style. Who’s the Astros’ team physician, Dr. Feelgood? Remember when Alex Bregman stubbed his toe and was out for a month? George Springer burned his tongue on some hot soup – two months. Last night Jake Odorizzi collapsed on the mound like he was Gillooly’d, and the Astros describe it today as “lower leg discomfort.”

The only mystery left in the 2022 season is … every time the camera turns on Jose Altuve, he’s biting his fingernails. How’s he not chewing on nubs now?

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