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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The future is bright for the Astros. Composite image by Jack Brame.

2020 has shown us lots of things. A few of the things it's shown us is that anything is possible, expect the unexpected, and do not be surprised at the outcome. Well, the Astros checked all three of those boxes in this pandemic season and post season. Anything was possible when they finished the 60 game season 29-31 and barely made the playoffs (yes, the new format helped, but they made it). We should've expected the unexpected when they were able to beat the Twins in the first round 2-0 after the A's ran away with the division this season. We for damn sure shouldn't have been surprised at the outcome of their ALCS series when they forced Tampa to a game seven after being down 3-0 because this team is experienced and scrappy. We are talking about the team that's made it to the ALCS four years running and won it all in 2017.

Sure, there are some high dollar guys that mean a lot to this team that they may lose (looking squarely at George Springer and Michael Brantley), but that's the end of it. They'll also be without Justin Verlander after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Some will say coming back from a 3-0 deficit to force a game seven was good enough. They'll tell this team to accept its fate and fall into the background. They replaced their manager and general manager after the cheating scandal, no way they can move forward and succeed right? (insert your favorite GTFOH GIF)

Springer and Brantley could both leave as free agents

This team may not be thought of a contender moving forward, but I have faith in the talent that's still there. I believe Jim Crane knows who and what he can't live without moving forward, so I think he'll shell out the cash necessary to keep guys like Springer and Brantley...as long as it's within reason. Crane won't, and shouldn't, get into a bidding war with another team for either guy, but I think he will make a fair offer to both. Verlander being out in his last season under contract is a big blow. However, I think it can work to the team's advantage.

Let's say they're only able to bring back Springer OR Brantley, but Kyle Tucker takes that next step. Let's say Forrest Whitley, Framber Valdez, and Jose Urquidy all take that next step while Lance McCullers continues his accent. What will the league say when Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman return to their previously dominant forms? All of this speaks to the continued era of the dominant Astros.

Even if they lose Brantley and/or Springer this offseason, I still think they have enough in place to keep the lineup competitive and threatening. The pitching staff has enough firepower to put some fear into opposing lineups. If they continue to make the right moves and develop the talent they have in-house, this team won't fall off or take a dip. Instead, they'll continue to be a force if they hold true to the talent they have, and acquire the complimentary talent they need to accent the players they have now. The pitching staff will be in good hands. McCullers, Framber, and Urquidy are guys I feel that can carry the load. Meanwhile, Forrest Whitley is waiting in the wings. Kyle Tucker is poised for the next step in the lineup, and Captain Correa clearly established himself as a leader this post season.

The future is bright for Astros fans. If ownership and the front office pony up the money to keep some guys, it'll be even better.

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