Houston blows a four-run lead in the loss

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-8 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston needed a win on Friday night to even the four-game series and maintain their division lead. Here is a recap of the game between the Astros and Rangers:

Final Score: Rangers 9, Astros 8.

Record: 57-35, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Shawn Kelley (5-2, 3.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Roberto Osuna (3-2, 2.15 ERA).

1) Up and down night for Cole ends on a high note

Gerrit Cole did not have one of his most dominant starts on Friday, as evidenced by the solo home run he allowed in the first at-bat by the Rangers in the bottom of the first. He would allow two more solo home runs over the next three innings, along with a game-tying RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth.

In contrast from the home runs he allowed, Cole still had his strikeout power on display, working up to his second-highest total in a game this season at thirteen. Cole's final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 13 K, 3 HR.

2) Alvarez hits home runs in back-to-back innings

Houston's offense was on display Friday night, starting with Yuli Gurriel erasing a 1-0 deficit with a two-run home run in the top of the second inning to put the Astros up 2-1. After the Rangers tied the game in the bottom of the second, Houston put some runners on base which allowed them to take advantage of an error to go back in front 3-2.

Joey Gallo and Jose Altuve both traded homers in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, respectively, then the Rangers tied the game 4-4 with an RBI-single off Cole in the bottom of the fifth. Yordan Alvarez gave the lead right back to Houston in the top of the next inning, getting a solo home run in the top of the sixth to make it a 5-4 Astros lead.

Later in that same inning, Tyler White was able to deliver a much-needed hit with runners in scoring position, plating two runs with a single to extend the lead to 7-4. Alvarez returned to the plate in the top of the seventh, and the at-bat was the same outcome, a solo home run to make it 8-4.

3) Bullpen blows the four-run lead 

With Cole's night finished after six innings, the Astros went to their bullpen starting with Will Harris in the bottom of the seventh. He would allow a solo home run to lead off the inning to former Astro Tim Federowicz, then a single and a one-out walk, bringing out A.J. Hinch to move on to Ryan Pressly.

Pressly was able to get the second out quickly but would watch one of Harris' runs come in on a bad throw by Robinson Chirinos trying to catch a runner stealing second, making it an 8-6 game. He would get a strikeout to end the inning. Houston tasked Hector Rondon with the bottom of the eighth, but he would allow a two-run homer with one out to tie the game 8-8.

The Astros came up empty in the top of the ninth, so they turned to Roberto Osuna to send the game to extra innings in the bottom of the ninth. He would allow a one-out single, followed by a walk, before allowing the walk-off run as the Astros would watch their once four-run lead completely erased in the loss.

Up Next: This series will continue with another night game at 7:05 PM tomorrow. The Astros will send Wade Miley (7-4, 3.28 ERA) to the mound to try and repeat the success he's had in his last two starts (two six-inning, one-run games) and the Rangers will counter with Mike Minor (8-4, 2.54 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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