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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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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