Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 2-0 win
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.
#JVDay: Breaking Bad #TakeItBack pic.twitter.com/ycc0hc2qJH
— Houston Astros (@astros) July 31, 2019
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.