Astros win fifth straight game in Greinke's debut

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

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.

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More changes are coming in MLB. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Ronald Acuña Jr. and Corbin Carroll just got a little more dangerous. Same for Bobby Witt Jr., Elly De La Cruz and the rest of baseball's fastest players.

Major League Baseball wants umpires to crack down on obstruction, and the commissioner's office outlined plans during a call with managers this week. MLB staff also will meet managers in person during spring training to go over enforcement.

The increased emphasis is only on the bases and not at home plate. The focus is on infielders who drop a knee or leg down in front of a bag while receiving a throw, acting as a deterrence for aggressive baserunning and creating an increased risk of injuries.

“I think with everything, they’re trying to make the game a little safer to avoid some unnecessary injuries," Phillies shortstop Trea Turner said Friday at the team's facility in Florida. “The intentions are always good. It comes down to how it affects the players and the games. I’m sure there will be plays where one team doesn’t like it or one team does.”

With more position players arriving at spring training every day, the topic likely will come up more and more as teams ramp up for the season.

“We'll touch on that. We'll show them some video of what’s good and what’s not,” Texas Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “You know, it’s going to be a little adjustment.”

Making obstruction a point of emphasis fits in with an ongoing effort by MLB to create more action. Obstruction calls are not reviewable, which could lead to some disgruntled players and managers as enforcement is stepped up, but it also means it won't create long replay deliberations.

A package of rule changes last season — including pitch clocks, bigger bases and limits on defensive shifts and pickoff attempts — had a dramatic effect. There were 3,503 stolen bases in the regular season, up from 2,486 in 2022 and the most since 1987.

MLB changed a different baserunning rule this offseason, widening the runner’s lane approaching first base to include a portion of fair territory. MLB also shortened the pitch clock with runners on base by two seconds to 18 and further reducing mound visits in an effort to speed games.

“Last year, you know, a lot of our preparation was around like, especially just the unknown of the clock and making sure like we’re really buttoned up on that," New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "These guys are so used to it in so many ways that sometimes I even forget.”

Increased enforcement could lead to more action on the basepaths. But a significant element of MLB's motivation is injury prevention.

Top players have hurt hands or wrists on headfirst slides into bases blocked by a fielder. White Sox slugger Luis Robert Jr. sprained his left wrist when he slid into Jonathan Schoop's lower left leg on a steal attempt during an August 2022 game against Detroit.

“It’s been happening for a while. It’s been getting out of control," Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “I know some of the players complained about it the last two years.”

While acknowledging his reputation as a significant offender, Phillies second baseman Bryson Stott didn't sound too worried about his play.

“We like to fight for outs at second base,” he said. "It’s never on purpose, blocking the base. For me, or someone covering second to the shortstop side, it’s a natural move for your knee to go down to reach the ball. It’s never intentional. I guess we’ll figure out how to maneuver around that.”

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