Astros power past Rangers in extra innings

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 7-6 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After the demoralizing loss on Friday night, the Astros were desperate to turn the page to a new game and put the issues of the past two games behind them and get back in the win column. Here is how Saturday's game played out:

Final Score (11 innings): Astros 7, Rangers 6.

Record: 58-35, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Josh James (4-0, 4.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brett Martin (1-1, 5.34 ERA).

1) Another offensive back-and-forth early

The Astros tried to set the momentum in their favor early by making an offensive statement in the top of the first. George Springer started the game by working a walk, then Jose Altuve followed with a single. Alex Bregman moved both of them forward a base with a groundout, setting up a sacrifice fly by Michael Brantley to make it a 1-0 Houston advantage. Yordan Alvarez followed that up with an RBI-double, extending the lead to 2-0 and starting this game right where he left off in his two-homer game the night prior.

The Rangers responded right away, though, getting back-to-back solo home runs off of Wade Miley in their first two at-bats to tie the game 2-2 in the bottom of the first inning. Brantley put the Astros back in front with his second RBI of the night in the top of the third, an RBI-single to make it 3-2.

Texas once again wasted no time getting more runs of their own, taking advantage of several errors in the bottom of the third. The miscues extended the inning, allowing them to score a run on a sacrifice fly along with a go-ahead run after the ball got away from Max Stassi at home and ended up in a camera well, giving the Rangers the lead at 4-3.

2) Bregman makes his presence felt 

Alex Bregman, after missing Friday night's game as a result of the ground ball that struck his face on Thursday night, was back in the lineup on Saturday. He quickly shrugged off the defensive error he had earlier in the game, hammering a game-tying solo home run in the top of the fifth to even the score at 4-4.

After getting Mike Minor out of the game after five innings, Houston went to work on the Rangers' bullpen in the top of the sixth, loading the bases with one out. They'd get the go-ahead run on an error by Texas, taking a 5-4 lead, but would miss a chance to add more with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.

3) Rangers tie it up to end Miley's night on sour note

Wade Miley didn't have as bad of a start going as it would appear going into the seventh inning. While he did start his night off in the worst way possible with the two solo home runs in the bottom of the first, the multitude of errors in the third made those runs he allowed unearned.

He did well after that rough third inning, getting through the next three innings with just one hit allowed. He took a high pitch count into the seventh with a 5-4 lead but would get stung with a one-out solo home run which allowed the Rangers to re-tie the game at 5-5. He would get one more out before A.J. Hinch would make the call to the bullpen. Miley's final line: 6.2 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 3 HR.

Will Harris would be first out of Houston's bullpen, and he finished off the seventh with a strikeout.

4) Astros pull ahead in extras

Houston had a chance to go back in front in the top of the eighth, getting a two-out triple from Jake Marisnick. They'd watch that opportunity slip away, though, but Ryan Pressly would throw a 1-2-3 bottom of the inning to set up another chance in the ninth.

The Astros had the heart of their order up in the top of the ninth, but it would take a two-out single by Michael Brantley to get a baserunner aboard. They would pinch-run Myles Straw for Brantley, but he would get picked off at first to end the inning.

Josh James took over on the mound on the bottom of the ninth looking to send the game to extra innings. He would do so, getting a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts. The Astros were aggressive in the top of the tenth, but it would not pan out for them, and instead resulted in a five-pitch inning for Texas who would get another chance to walk it off. James was able to extend the game one inning further, though, with another scoreless inning including two more strikeouts.

In the top of the eleventh, George Springer worked a walk after two quick outs before him. Jose Altuve was next and powered a ball into left-center field deep enough to score Springer from first, putting Houston ahead 6-5 with an RBI-double. Altuve was able to advance to third during the play, which after an intentional walk to Alex Bregman set up an RBI-single by Myles Straw to extend the lead to 7-5.

Roberto Osuna came in to close things out in the bottom of the eleventh and would do so but not before struggling to get the final out. The Rangers would get a two-out RBI-single to trim the lead to one but would come no closer as Osuna would finish off the win.

Up Next: The Astros and Rangers will wrap up this four-game set tomorrow with the first pitch of the finale scheduled for 2:05 PM. Houston will send their ace, Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA), to the mound to face Ariel Jurado (5-4, 4.23 ERA) for Texas.

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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