Gerrit Cole leads Astros to series win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-3 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With a disappointing end to the third game of this four-game set on Wednesday night, Houston tried to end the series with a win and a series victory on Thursday evening. Here is how the finale shook out:

Final Score: Astros 6, Tigers 3.

Record: 82-47, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (15-5, 2.75 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Zimmerman (1-9, 6.48 ERA).

1) Cole dazzles in his return 

Gerrit Cole, much like Justin Verlander the night before, was able to take advantage of a struggling Tigers lineup and expand on his already fantastic season numbers. Cole allowed a walk and a single in the second inning, the only two baserunners he would see through the first five frames.

In the top of the sixth, he allowed the second hit of the night by Detroit but stranded that runner as well. He returned for another scoreless inning in the seventh and was shut down after reaching 94 pitches over that span. Along the way he continued to rack up swings and misses, locking up yet another double-digit strikeout by the end of the sixth.

It was a terrific start for Cole, who was coming off the hamstring discomfort that had him sidelined for a little over a week. His final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 0 HR.

2) Astros back up Cole with plenty of runs

While the offense was not electric through the early parts of the game, they did at least provide Cole double the amount of run support they gave Verlander the night before. The two runs they put on the board came in the bottom of the fourth after Michael Brantley hit a leadoff double before Alex Bregman drilled a line-drive two-run homer to make it a 2-0 Houston lead.

In the bottom of the sixth, Brantley and Bregman struck again with singles to get on base before an RBI-double by Yordan Alvarez to extend Houston's lead to 3-0. Once again Brantley was able to play a factor into the game in the bottom of the seventh, coming to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs and delivering a two-RBI single to make it a 5-0 Houston lead.

Yuli Gurriel joined the other three hitters in the middle of the order with RBIs, getting one of his own on an RBI-single to make it 6-0 before the Tigers could get out of the bottom of the seventh.

3) Finishing up the series win

With Cole's night done, Joe Smith took over on the mound for the top of the eighth and was able to record a twelve-pitch 1-2-3 inning. Joe Biagini returned to Houston's bullpen roster and was brought in for the top of the ninth, but allowed back-to-back home runs to cut Houston's lead in half at 6-3.

Biagini was able to get another out, but after issuing a four-pitch two-out walk was pulled in favor of Roberto Osuna who was able to get the last out, despite walking a batter, to close out the win. Abraham Toro, called up before this game to make his major-league debut, went 0-for-4.

Up Next: The Astros will turn their attention to the Angels who come to town for a three-game series starting Friday night with the series opener scheduled for 7:10 PM. Zack Greinke (13-4, 2.84 ERA) will make his fourth start with Houston and will face Jose Suarez (2-4, 6.75 ERA) who will be on the mound for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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