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.

Composite photo by Brandon Strange

Earlier this week after the Astros were punished by MLB for sign-stealing, Dodgers fans were losing their minds about being cheated out of a World Series in 2017. A life-long Dodgers fan, Jose Lara, says he is speaking with an attorney about suing MLB for the amount of money he spent going to Game 7 of the World Series in 2017. It's hard to imagine he has any chance of winning his case, but that's not the point.

It seems nobody remembers that the Dodgers were accused of stealing signs back in May of 2019. The Mets and the Brewers have both accused the Dodgers. I'm going to stick to the accusations from the Brewers, but you can read about the Mets concerns with the Dodgers here. According to The Athletic's Robert Murray, the Brewers were suspicious the Dodgers were using cameras to steal signs with help from the video department. Sound familiar? "They use video people to get sequences," a Brewers source told The Athletic about the Dodgers in October of 2018.

And let's not forget the Red Sox claiming they caught Dodgers 3rd baseman Manny Machado relaying signs from 2nd base in the 2018 World Series. It's clear from MLB's investigation of the Astros that Alex Cora would definitely know what to look for when it comes to stealing signs.

The point is, there is a ton of heat on the Astros right now and deservedly so, but it seems like MLB is just starting to figure out that a lot of teams have been doing this as recently as last year. They need to look into all these reports, the teams involved, and make sure they punish everyone equally. You can't just punish the first team that got caught and let everyone else get away with it. If you're truly going to clean up baseball, you have to hold everyone accountable.

Hopefully a team like the Dodgers gets exposed sooner than later, so the Astros are finally out of the spotlight.

Let's go MLB, get to it!

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