Astros drop the middle game to Toronto

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 6-4 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros started Saturday on top of MLB's overall standings after a win in the series opener against the Blue Jays on Friday night. They looked to keep pace with the Yankees and Dodgers with another victory in the middle game to secure the series. Here is a quick rundown of Saturday's game from Toronto:

Final Score: Blue Jays 6, Astros 4.

Record: 88-49, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Clay Buchholz (1-3, 5.45 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-7, 5.55 ERA).

1) Valdez digs a big hole

Houston's offense had an efficient start to the game, getting back-to-back hits to start the game with runners on first and third. Alex Bregman scored the first run of the afternoon on a sacrifice fly, putting Houston ahead 1-0.

After winning the battle against the Blue Jays in the first two innings, Framber Valdez would struggle in the third inning, allowing two one-out walks followed by an RBI-single and a two-run home run to put Toronto ahead 3-1. In the fourth, a two-out single would turn into a two-run home run, extending the lead to 5-1.

Valdez would continue on the mound trying to keep Toronto from adding to their lead, and did so through two outs in the sixth inning when a single would end his day as he was over 100 pitches. Joe Smith was brought in from the bullpen to try and finish the sixth but instead would allow Valdez's sixth run of the day. Valdez's final line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

2) Astros score some, but not enough

Houston was able to get a couple of runs back in the top of the sixth, getting two two-out walks to set up a two-RBI doubly by Yuli Gurriel, which made it 5-3 at the time.

After Toronto tacked on one more run to push the lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Houston was able to load the bases in the top of the seventh with one out. After a groundout kept the bases loaded with two outs, Alex Bregman was able to work a walk to score a run to make it 6-4. Toronto's bullpen would win the battle though, striking out Yordan Alvarez to end the threat.

Joe Smith, who completed the sixth for Valdez, remained on the mound for the bottom of the seventh and worked around a two-out walk to keep the game 6-4 going to the eighth. Houston had another chance in the top of the ninth with the tying runs on base but again came away empty. Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen and threw a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth, but Houston would come up empty yet again in the top of the ninth, dropping the middle game and falling behind the Yankees in the standings.

Up Next: The series finale between Houston and Toronto will start on Sunday at 12:07 PM. The pitching matchup will be Cy Young leader Justin Verlander (16-5, 2.69 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite of Wilmer Font (2-1, 3.86 ERA) for the Blue Jays.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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