Astros win fifth straight game in Greinke's debut

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 11-6 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After a week of waiting, Tuesday night was finally the night Houston had been looking forward to since last Wednesday: Zack Greinke's first start in an Astros uniform. He was going up against a familiar foe in the Colorado Rockies. Here is a quick rundown of the first matchup of the quick two-game series:

Final Score: Astros 11, Rockies 6.

Record: 74-40, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (11-4, 3.08 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-4, 5.95 ERA).

1) Not the best start for Greinke, but still a win

Zack Greinke had an efficient first three innings in his new uniform, allowing just two hits over that span, but erasing both to keep the Rockies off the board. He faced his first real test in the fourth, allowing a leadoff single then a walk to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch advanced both runners, setting up a sac fly for the Rockies followed by an RBI-double to trim Houston's lead to 3-2.

Greinke made it out of that inning but would face another high-leverage situation in the top of the fifth after a leadoff double then error put two runners on yet again. He would get out of the jam, though, with a flyout and double play to end the inning.

Greinke would have an unfortunate sixth inning, however. He allowed a leadoff infield single, then a one-out walk, putting two on base for a two-out three-run game-tying home run by Colorado to make it 5-5. He would get through the sixth, but it still ended his night on a sour note. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

2) Alvarez provides some quick run support for his new pitcher

After going down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the first, Alex Bregman got the first hit of the night with a leadoff double to start the bottom of the second. That brought up Yordan Alvarez, who demolished a ball 436 feet for his fourteenth home run of the year to put Houston ahead 2-0 early.

They would extend the lead further in the bottom of the third, getting an RBI-single by Michael Brantley to make it 3-0. After the Rockies trimmed the lead to one run in the top of the fourth, Yuli Gurriel put it back to two with a two-out solo home run, making it 4-2. In the bottom of the fifth, George Springer hit a one-out single, moved to third on a single by Jose Altuve, then scored on an RBI-groundout by Michael Brantley, extending the lead to 5-2.

After Colorado tied the game in the top of the sixth, Carlos Correa put Houston right back in front with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the inning. George Springer would tack on another later in the inning, getting a one-out RBI-single to extend the lead to 7-5.

3) Tacking on some insurance

Chris Devenski was the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, taking the mound for the top of the seventh. He would snap his three-game streak of scoreless innings, allowing a one-out solo home run to Charlie Blackmon to cut the lead to one run at 7-6 before getting through the inning.

Carlos Correa would strike again in the bottom of the seventh to add on more runs. After a leadoff single by Michael Brantley and walk by Alex Bregman, Correa would drive both in on a two-RBI double. Yuli Gurriel was up next and launched his second home run of the night to further pad the lead at 11-6.

Hector Rondon took over on the mound in the top of the eighth and retired the Rockies in order. Collin McHugh wrapped things up by working around a couple of walks for a scoreless ninth, giving Houston their fifth straight win.

Up Next: These two teams will wrap up this entire two-game series in under 24 hours with the finale tomorrow at 1:10 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Peter Lambert (2-2, 5.71 ERA) on the mound for Colorado while Houston will send out Gerrit Cole (13-5, 2.87 ERA) who will be looking to continue his hot streak and add to his league-leading number of strikeouts.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans


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