Astros outslug the Rockies for fourth straight win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-8 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After a successful weekend series sweep against the Mariners at home in Houston, the Astros had Monday off before starting a two-game series with the Rockies in Colorado. Here is a quick rundown of the first of the two games that took place Tuesday night:

Final Score: Astros 9, Rockies 8.

Record: 54-32, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Will Harris (3-1, 1.44 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jake McGee (0-1, 1.89 ERA).

1) Decent debut for Urquidy

With Brad Peacock landing on the injured list, the Astros made a move to bring up Jose Urquidy to make his MLB debut on the mound to start Tuesday's game. It was a tough task in the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field, which Urquidy learned immediately.

He allowed back-to-back two-out doubles to Colorado in the bottom of the first, allowing the Rockies to tie the game 1-1 after the Astros had gone up 1-0 in the top of the inning. He would give up more hits in the next inning, starting it with back-to-back singles before a wild pitch scored a run to tie the game 2-2.

Urquidy would get out of that inning, then had his best inning in the third with his only 1-2-3 inning of his start. He would put more runners on in the fourth after some struggling defense behind him, and with his pitch count rising would have his debut ended somewhat early. Jose's final line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.

2) Yuli Gurriel stays hot to power the offense 

If his back-to-back walk-off hits over the weekend weren't enough, Yuli Gurriel was taking charge at the plate in this game to keep Houston's offense in the driver's seat. After a sacrifice fly by Alex Bregman in the first gave the Astros their first run, Gurriel hit a solo home run in the second which gave them a 2-1 lead.

After the Rockies tied the game 2-2 in the bottom of the second, Michael Brantley gave Houston the lead right back in the top of the third with a two-RBI double, then Gurriel added another RBI on a single to extend the lead further to 5-2. After the bullpen blew that lead and had Houston down 8-5, the Astros had another big inning in the top of the seventh.

They started the inning by hitting back-to-back-to-back doubles from George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman, scoring two runs to trim the lead to one at 8-7. Brantley moved Bregman to third, but which base he was on would not matter because Gurriel would get his third and fourth RBIs and a second homer on the night with a one-out blast to regain the lead for the Astros at 9-8.

3) James melts down in the fifth, rest of the bullpen holds

Josh James was first out of the bullpen to finish off the fourth for Urquidy, which he did with a strikeout to end the inning. However, James would return in the fifth and have a disastrous time, blowing the three-run lead by allowing Colorado to score five runs on three hits including walking in a run with the bases loaded, handing the Rockies a 7-5 lead.

Will Harris took over in the bottom of the sixth trying to keep it only a two-run deficit, but he too would find himself in a jam, loading the bases with no outs on three consecutive singles to start the inning. He would limit the damage to just one run, increasing Houston's deficit to three runs at 8-5.

After another big inning in the top of the seventh to bail out Houston's pitching again, Chris Devenski was next on the mound in the bottom of the inning with a freshly acquired one-run lead. He was able to work around a leadoff walk to get through the scoreless inning with a couple of strikeouts.

Ryan Pressly took over on the mound in the bottom of the eighth and was able to get one of the best innings of the night for Houston pitching by retiring a tough part of Colorado's lineup in order including two strikeouts. That gave Roberto Osuna another save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, and he would get it by finishing off the 9-8 win.

Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this quick series tomorrow night the second of these two games starting at 7:10 PM. Wade Miley (6-4, 3.39 ERA) will get the start for Houston and go opposite of Peter Lambert (2-0, 6.57 ERA) for Colorado.

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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