Astros outslug the Rockies for fourth straight win
Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-8 win
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.
Nice lead, we'll #TakeItBack
2B + 2B + 2B + 💣 pic.twitter.com/H2xm27fcfH
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 3, 2019
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.