Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 2-0 win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 2-0 win
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With their full, healthy lineup together in an AL park for the first time since the early season, the Astros tried to start the three-game series against the Indians with a win. Here is how their effort went:

Final Score: Astros 2, Indians 0.

Record: 69-39, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (14-4, 2.73 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Shane Bieber (10-4, 3.40 ERA).

1) Verlander wins the pitching battle 

The pitching matchup in the series opener was as advertised, with All-Stars Justin Verlander and Shane Bieber both making it tough for opposing lineups. However, Verlander was the winner of that battle, with another terrific start to add to his 2019 Cy Young bid.

Verlander allowed just two hits over his seven innings of work, a single in the third and another in the sixth. Those were the only two baserunners that Cleveland could manage against Verlander, who had his arsenal in absolute lock-down in the start.

He also recorded his second-highest strikeouts in a start this season, getting thirteen on the night. His final line: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 13 K, 0 HR.

2) Two runs in the fifth are the difference

While the Astros were able to get hits against Shane Bieber, they would not be able to turn them into runs until the fifth inning. The first change in the scoreboard came by way of a solo home run by Robinson Chirinos with one out in the top of the inning.

With two outs, Jose Altuve moved to 3-for-3 on the night with a double, pushing his average above .300 at .301. That set up Michael Brantley, who was next to the plate, for an RBI-single to extend the lead to 2-0.

With Verlander's night done after seven two-hit innings, Will Harris took over on the mound in the eighth. He would get through that inning by retiring the Indians in order, then Roberto Osuna recorded his 24th save of the year in the ninth to close out the win.

Up Next: This series will continue tomorrow with another 6:10 PM start for game two of three between the Astros and Indians. Houston will send Jose Urquidy (1-0, 4.26 ERA) to the mound to try and build on his recent success and secure the series win, while Cleveland is expected to start Zach Plesac (5-3, 3.10 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Welcome back, Justin! Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will make his season debut Friday night at the Washington Nationals.

Houston manager Joe Espada made the announcement Wednesday.

“Getting him back is huge because it brings a level of confidence to our team, a boost of confidence that we’re going to get someone who’s been an MVP, a Cy Young (winner) on the mound,” Espada said. “It's (good) for the morale and to get stuff started and moving in the right direction.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner opened the season on the injured list with inflammation in his right shoulder. He made two rehabilitation starts, the first for Triple-A Sugar Land on April 7 before Saturday’s start for Double-A Corpus Christi.

Espada wouldn't say how many pitches the 41-year-old would be limited to but said they'll keep an eye on his workload.

“We've got to be careful how hard we push him early,” Espada said. “I know he’s going to want to go and stay out there and give us an opportunity to win, but we've got to be cautious of how hard we push him early in the season.”

Verlander wasn’t thrilled with the results in his rehabilitation starts, but he said Monday that those games were valuable in getting him prepared to come off the IL.

He allowed seven hits and six runs — five earned — in four innings against Frisco on Saturday. He struck out three, walked one and threw 51 of 77 pitches for strikes.

Verlander allowed six earned runs and struck out six while pitching into the fourth inning for Sugar Land on April 7.

The Astros have gotten off to a tough start with Verlander and fellow starters Framber Valdez and José Urquidy on the injured list. They enter Wednesday's games last in the AL West with a 6-13 record.

Espada hopes Verlander can be the boost the team needs to get on track.

“It’s good to get him back in the rotation,” Espada said. “With what he means to this club just to get him back on track, getting some innings from him (to) build our rotation with the pieces that we need to move forward is exciting.”

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