Astros demolish the A's to start the series

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 11-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Riding a five-game winning streak including a sweep of the Rangers over the weekend, the Astros began a series with the A's on Monday night. Here is a recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 11, A's 1.

Record: 65-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (11-5, 3.03 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Homer Bailey (8-7, 5.42 ERA).

1) 11 runs on the anniversary of Apollo 11

Sometimes you can't predict a story so fitting. After a scoreless first inning, Houston's offense erupted in the second and third innings. It started with Yordan Alvarez who led off the bottom of the second with his eleventh home run. The solo shot to put the Astros on the board at 1-0.

That opened the floodgates as they would go on to score three more runs on an RBI-single by George Springer, RBI-walk by Jose Altuve with the bases loaded, and an RBI-groundout by Alex Bregman. That put Alvarez back at the plate to lead off the third, and he would again spark a big inning.

He walked, setting up a two-run home run by Yuli Gurriel to maintain his unreal pace in recent weeks. They put the next two batters on, which brought Aledmys Diaz to the plate in his first game back from the injured list. He reminded everyone of his power, hitting a home run of his own to score three more runs.

Alvarez would bat again later in the same inning, getting an RBI-double to raise his season total to 35 over his first 30 games. That set a new MLB record over that span of games to start a career. Then, in the next at-bat, Yuli Gurriel would provide another run in the inning on an RBI-single. That made it a seven-run inning, but more notably, gave the Astros an 11-0 lead by scoring eleven runs on eleven hits — all on a night to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

2) Cole reaches 200 strikeouts with 11 on the night, gets win 11 on the year

It was just another ho-hum night for Gerrit Cole on Monday. He started on fire, striking out four of the first six batters he faced. He allowed his first hits of the night in the fourth, a couple of doubles which scored a run to make it an 11-1 game.

That run was overshadowed quickly by a milestone set by Cole in the start; he recorded the second-fastest time to reach 200 strikeouts in a season. In addition to that, Cole threw yet another double-digit strikeout start. He finished the sixth inning with ten and with a pitch count of 95.

That meant he would get the chance to start the seventh inning and attempt to get strikeout number 11. Not only did he start the top of the seventh with that eleventh strikeout, but he would also go on to complete the inning. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11K, 0 HR.

With Cole's terrific night done, Houston went to their bullpen for the final two innings. First up was Hector Rondon who had a scoreless eighth inning. Then, Joe Smith came in for the ninth inning to close things out for Houston's sixth-straight win.

Up Next: Houston will attempt to extend their winning streak to seven games with another game against Oakland tomorrow night at home. The start time is 7:10 PM with an expected pitching matchup of Mike Fiers (9-3, 3.64 ERA) for the A's going up against Wade Miley (8-4, 3.25 ERA) for the Astros.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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