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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After a short turnaround, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to their Mecca at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the famed Coca-Cola 600. Of all the races in NASCAR, after Daytona this race may be the most important race on the schedule. The tradition started back in 1959 when former driver and hall of famer Curtis Turner teamed up with Burton Smith to build the track and upon its completion, they decided to make the first race at the new track on the same day as the Indy 500. In an effort to draw fans, they made the race 100 miles longer and from there the rest was history. This year's rendition will be somber though as no fans will be permitted to enter due to Covid-19, but even in this time of unrest it will be a relief to continue to see our heroes take on NASCAR's longest race.

For the first time, NASCAR pulled off it's first midweek race and it was a doozy. For most of the race there was a wide range of characters who were up front. Clint Bowyer set the tone early as he went on to win the first two stages but after getting caught in traffic he fell back. To make matters worse, Bowyer was involved in an accident that ended any chance of victory. While it wasn't the outcome he would have hoped for, to see how well he ran is a sign of good things to come for the Kansas native. I look forward to seeing how he rebounds.

With Bowyer out of it, the attention shifted to Chase Elliott. All night it seemed like he had the second best car and looked to be on his way to another victory but after the caution for Bowyer, Elliott lost a ton of track position after a bad pit-stop. This left the sports most popular driver stuck in traffic, but he was able to make his way back to second. In the final laps, he was easily the best car and appeared to be on his way past Denny Hamlin to take the victory but Kyle Busch had other ideas. The defending champion made a sudden right hand turn and veered into Elliott sending him head on into the wall.

It was safe to say that Elliott was not pleased as he gave Busch the one finger salute as he drove by under caution. The race was not able to resume as Mother Nature intervened giving Hamlin his second win of the season. Many fans and experts alike were critical of Busch's stunt, Jeff Gordon was quoted as saying "Not sure what that was all about." When the race was over, Busch was confronted by Elliott's Crew Chief Alan Gufston. When it was said and done security had to be called to separate the two. While it might not have been intentional, Busch has opened up a can of worms in the future for retaliation. It will be fun to watch what happens next.

Overall, the response to NASCAR's midweek race was overwhelmingly positive as it was the third highest watched event on television. As NASCAR continues to be fluid, more and more people are becoming interested. NASCAR journalist and reporter Adam Stern tweeted that more than thirty percent of the viewers of Sunday's race were new viewers. Even though we may not always agree with the way NASCAR does things, I have to say they have done an outstanding job at putting this schedule together. I hope that in the future, NASCAR continues this new tradition.

Moving on to Charlotte, The driver I have winning this weekend is Chase Elliott. In every race this season, Chase has been a force to be reckoned but has simply run into circumstances he can't control. At Vegas before the shutdown, he seemed to have the race in hand until a flat tire ended any chances of victory. Two weeks later at Phoenix, he led ninety-three laps until fading to a seventh place finish and with a new-found fire lit under him after Darlington, Elliott will be like a bull in the china shop come Sunday. While he has been great at every track he has run at, he has been especially fast at Charlotte. He currently has a 10.60 average finish there and has consistently led laps. This week, I think Elliott will get redemption and claim his sixth career victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels. Look for him to take his #9 Napa Camaro to victory lane.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats)

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