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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After Yordan Alvarez suffered an injury on Thursday from colliding into Jeremy Peña in short left field, many fans and media are questioning whether Alvarez should DH exclusively to keep injuries like this from happening.

While this may prevent injuries from happening in left field, there are numerous ways of getting hurt, such as running the bases, and we saw Alvarez miss some time recently with a hand injury from swinging the bat.

Plus, playing Yordan in left where he's at least an average outfielder, allows veterans like Michael Brantley and Jose Altuve to slide in the DH spot to get some much-needed rest over the course of the season. And there's an argument being made that Yordan is better at the plate when he's playing the field.

Be sure to check out the video above as we debate this hot topic!

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