Astros win their sixth straight to lock up the series

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

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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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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