Astros win their sixth straight to lock up the series

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 8-6 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Winners of five straight games after the bludgeoning of the Rays in the series opener, the Astros looked to secure another series win with Gerrit Cole on the mound on Wednesday night. Here is a recap of the middle game of the three-game set:

Final Score: Astros 8, Rays 6.

Record: 87-47, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Will Harris (4-1, 1.60 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Diego Castillo (2-8, 3.76 ERA).

1) Cole gets the strikeouts, but also allows four runs

A few baserunners which turned into runs kept a decent night by Gerrit Cole from being a terrific one. Cole allowed one run in the top of the second after walking the leadoff batter who was able to advance to third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sacrifice fly, putting the Rays ahead 1-0.

His other runs came in the top of the fourth after a one-out single turned into a two-run home run to extend Tampa Bay's lead to 3-0. Outside of those miscues, Cole was still able to put together a dominant night including racking up double-digit strikeouts yet again.

After finishing the sixth inning with 98 pitches and his twelfth strikeout of the night, A.J. Hinch allowed him to continue to at least start the seventh. He allowed a leadoff triple on a ball down the first-base line, then a one-out go-ahead RBI-single, then one last strikeout for the second out before Hinch would go to the bullpen. Cole's final line: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 14 K, 1 HR.

2) Astros pull away late to secure the series win

Meanwhile, on offense for Houston, they were held scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning. Down 3-0 at that point, they were able to tie the game after a leadoff double for Jose Altuve who moved to third on a groundout, then scored on an RBI-single by Alex Bregman. With two outs, Yuli Gurriel provided yet another clutch hit to continue his hot stretch over this summer, getting a game-tying two-run home run.

After Tampa Bay broke the 3-3 tie in the top of the seventh against Gerrit Cole who would leave with two outs, Will Harris was the first out of Houston's bullpen and recorded the final out. In the bottom half, the Astros were able to get Cole off the hook on an RBI-double by Aledmys Diaz to tie the game. They continued to string together hits, taking a 5-4 lead later in the inning on an RBI-single by George Springer then adding another on a throwing error, making it 6-4.

Harris remained on the mound for Houston in the top of the eighth and put together a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. The Astros added some insurance in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases before an RBI-single by Martin Maldonado then a bases-loaded walk by George Springer to make it 8-4.

Roberto Osuna took over on the mound in the top of the ninth and allowed a lead-off walk then a one-out two-run home run to trim the lead to 8-6. He was able to get the final two outs to finish the game and give Houston the series victory and their sixth-straight win.

Up Next: With Tampa Bay heading home for the weekend and Houston heading up to Toronto to kick off a five-game road trip on Friday, the two teams will wrap this three-game series up with an afternoon game on Thursday. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 PM, and while Zack Greinke (14-4, 2.83 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros looking to stay undefeated with his new team, we do not yet have a starter named for the Rays.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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