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.

Houston's magic number is down to 1

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-4 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the mini-sweep of the Rangers concluding with win number 100 on the season which secured a playoff spot, the Astros turned their sights to clinching the division. With their magic number at 2, they could clinch on Friday with a win in the series opener against Los Angeles and an Oakland loss. Here is a recap of the first game of the weekend against the Angels:

Final Score: Astros 6, Angels 4.

Record: 101-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (17-5, 3.05 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jaime Barria (4-10, 6.43 ERA).

1) Starting with a bang

With a chance to clinch their division and continue to lead the battle for playoff home-field advantage, Houston came out swinging on Friday night. In the first inning, the Astros blasted three home runs with solo shots from Jose Altuve which led off the inning, and Alex Bregman as he tries to catch the sidelined Mike Trout for a possible MVP award.

Later in the inning, Carlos Correa took advantage of a runner on base with a home run of his own, a two-run bomb to extend the lead before Josh Reddick tacked on one more with an RBI-single to make it 5-0 after one.

2) Greinke struggles in the fourth but finishes five innings

Zack Greinke allowed just two hits through the first three innings: a single and a solo home run which at the time cut the lead to 5-1. Carlos Correa pushed the lead back to five runs with his second home run of the night in the bottom of the third.

Greinke would struggle in the top of the fourth, however, allowing five straight hits which would score three runs to cut Houston's lead to 6-4. He would recover and toss a 1-2-3 fifth, but that would be it for him in a five-inning start, as Houston passed the ball to their bullpen to throw the last four frames. His final line: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

3) Houston's bullpen dominant the rest of the way

Josh James was the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen to take over for Greinke in the top of the sixth and erased a two-out walk to complete a scoreless inning. Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance in a month after having surgery on his knee, returned dominantly with a 1-2-3 inning.

Will Harris did the same in the top of the eighth, holding the two-run lead going to the ninth. Roberto Osuna had the chance for another save in the top of the ninth and converted it to finish off the 6-4 win. That reduced the magic number to one, meaning the Astros are now a win or Oakland loss away from clinching the American League West. They are also just two wins away from matching last year's franchise number of 103.

Up Next: Game two of this three-game set with the Angles will be on Saturday at 6:10 PM. Wade Miley (14-5, 3.71 ERA) will get the start for Houston while Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 4.91 ERA) is expected to be on the mound for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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