Astros win series opener against the Rangers

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Back at home after a series split in Los Angeles, the Astros looked to work on little sleep in the series opener against the Rangers. Here is a quick rundown of the game:

Final Score: Astros 4, Rangers 3.

Record: 62-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (12-4, 2.99 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Mike Minor (8-5, 2.86 ERA).

1) Gurriel stays red hot to start up the offense

After a scoreless first inning, Houston jumped out to a 1-0 lead off the bat of Yuli Gurriel who hit his ninth home run in the month of July in the bottom of the second. That started a home run barrage that would take place in the bottom of the third.

It started with Jose Altuve who led off the inning with a solo home run to extend the lead to 2-0. Not to be outdone, Alex Bregman was up next and hit one of his own to make it 3-0. Still not avoiding batters, Mike Minor left a fastball in the zone to Yordan Alvarez in the next at-bat, which he turned around for a colossal home run, 474 feet to make it back-to-back-to-back home runs and a 4-0 Houston lead.

2) Verlander with a great start, gets tagged late

While the offense was putting up highlights of their own, Justin Verlander was quietly stringing together another gem of a start. While he had no 1-2-3 innings, the outs he was getting were mostly via strikeout.

After not allowing a run through the first 5.2 innings of his six innings of work, Verlander would give up back-to-back home runs to put a slight stain on his otherwise dominant night. He would finish off the sixth with his twelfth strikeout of the night on his 116th pitch, leaving the game with a 4-2 lead.

That made it a season-high in pitch count for Verlander and matched his second-highest strikeout total. His final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 12 K, 2 HR.

3) Bullpen holds Rangers down to finish things off

With Verlander's night complete after six innings, Houston went to their bullpen for the final three. Will Harris was the first reliever on the mound, taking over in the seventh. He faced a tough inning, watching a runner reach on an error before allowing a hit then a passed ball to set up an RBI-groundout to trim the lead to one run at 4-3. Harris would limit the damage there, though, preserving Houston's lead another inning.

Josh James also found it tough to get through the Rangers quickly, allowing a single and a walk in the top of the eighth. He worked around the trouble, stranding both runners to keep it at 4-3. Roberto Osuna would come in for the save in the top of the ninth and would get it for his twenty-first of the season.

Up Next: This series will continue tomorrow with the first pitch of game two at 6:10 PM on Saturday. The Astros will likely have another bullpen day and therefore have no dedicated started named yet, but the Rangers are expected to start Ariel Jurado (5-5, 4.63 ERA). Houston was able to knock Jurado out after five runs in four innings in his last start.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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