Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-0 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston needed a win on Saturday night to even the series at a game apiece after dropping the opening game the night prior. Here is how the game went:

Final Score: Astros 4, Angels 0.

Record: 56-33, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (9-5, 3.09 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Andrew Heaney (1-3, 5.18 ERA).

1) Award-winning pitching by Cole

Gerrit Cole, the recipient of the AL pitcher of the month award for his month of June, kept his streak of strong starts alive with a tremendous performance on national television on Saturday night. On a night where he wasn't able to record the double-digit strikeout performance he usually provides, it was still a gem to watch, with Cole only allowing three hits over seven shutout innings.

Cole was peppering in fastballs over 100 mph consistently, including the last pitch of his night, a 101 mph heater to get his ninth strikeout and end the top of the seventh inning on his 110th pitch. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K.

2) Offense backs him up with some runs 

While Cole was stringing together scoreless inning after inning, Houston's bats were able to give him some support with a few runs along the way as well. The first run of the night came in the bottom of the fourth after Alex Bregman led the inning off with a single, then later scored on a two-out RBI-single by Josh Reddick.

Bregman would play a part in another scoring play in the next inning, getting a two-out RBI of his own with a double to extend the lead to 2-0. Yuli Gurriel, a name seen in many of the Astros' highlights over the last week, led the bottom of the sixth inning by sneaking a home run over the right field wall, making it a 3-0 Houston advantage.

Bregman would yet again factor into another run, working a two-out walk in the bottom of the seventh before scoring on a double by Yordan Alvarez that just barely missed being a home run, but instead bounced off the top of the right field wall and back into play. That made it a 4-0 advantage, which they'd hold on to for the win.

3) Pressly and McHugh close it out

With Cole able to finish out seven innings, Houston was in the position to put in their regular eighth and ninth inning relievers: Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna. Pressly took over on the mound in the eighth, and despite loading the bases on a couple of walks and a single, was able to keep the game at 4-0.

With the lead still at four runs going into the ninth, making it a non-save situation, the Astros chose to let Collin McHugh have the ninth instead of Osuna. McHugh did his job, closing out the shutout win by striking out the side to even the series and make Sunday's game a winner-take-all.

Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this series and head into the All-Star break with the final game of the first half of the season at 1:10 PM tomorrow. The expected pitching matchup for the rubber game is Jose Suarez (2-1, 5.40 ERA) for Los Angeles and Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.91 ERA) for Houston, making his second career start.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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