Astros secure the series win as Justin Verlander passes Cy Young

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 5-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After taking the first game of the series on Friday night, the Astros looked to secure yet another series win by getting a victory on Saturday. Here are the facts from the game:

Final Score: Astros 5, A's 1.

Record: 39-20, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (9-2, 2.27 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brett Anderson (6-4, 3.95 ERA).

1) Another historic night for Verlander

It was a great all-around night for Justin Verlander on the mound. He did allow a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning which at the time gave Oakland a 1-0 lead, but that would be one of the few blemishes on an otherwise terrific night for Houston's ace. He'd go on to throw eight one-run innings, earning him his ninth win on the season, improving his record to 9-2.

Also, Verlander's sixth and seventh strikeouts on the night put him in a tie then ahead of none other than Cy Young on the all-time strikeout leaderboard and in sole position of 21st on the list of the game's greatest pitchers. Verlander is likely to pass several more before season's end.

With Verlander's night done after eight innings, Will Harris took over to close out the win in the ninth. He'd do, securing the series win and keeping the Astros out to an eight-game lead in the division.

2) Reddick comfortable in Oakland, again

After looking up at a 1-0 deficit early, it was Josh Reddick who provided another dose of power back at his old stomping grounds of the Oakland Coliseum. He connected on a home run in the top of the fourth inning, making it back-to-back games, which with a runner on base made it a go-ahead shot and gave Houston a 2-1 lead, a lead they'd never give up. Alex Bregman was gifted an RBI in the top of the fifth, hitting a shallow shot into right field that fell in on a defensive miscue by Oakland, extending the lead to 3-1.

In the bottom of the eighth, Reddick struck again by leading off the inning with a single, setting up a two-run home run by Robinson Chirinos. That gave Houston two more insurance runs with a 5-1 lead heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Up Next: The Astros and A's will wrap up this series with a 3:07 PM start time on Sunday afternoon. Gerrit Cole (5-5, 4.02 ERA) will look to get his second win in a row as he continues to rack up dominant strikeout numbers as he goes up against Chris Bassitt (3-1, 3.27 ERA) for Oakland.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Astros get back on track with lopsided win

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With two of their worst pitching performances behind them from Monday and Tuesday nights, the Astros had Gerrit Cole on the mound on Wednesday to try and right the ship. Here is a recap of the third of four games in this series:

Final Score: Astros 11, Angels 2.

Record: 60-37, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Felix Pena (7-3, 4.92 ERA).

1) Overpowering offense makes it easy for Houston's pitchers

Houston's openers and primary pitchers put up disappointing numbers the offense could not overcome the previous two nights. Houston's bats flipped the script on that, taking control of the game on Tuesday night to make it less stressful for Gerrit Cole and the bullpen.

They started with a three-run first inning, getting a one-out single by Jose Altuve who would score on an RBI-double by Alex Bregman before a two-run homer by Michael Brantley in the next at-bat. They continued scoring in the next two innings, getting a run in each. Jose Altuve notched an RBI-double in the second, then Yuli Gurriel led the third inning off with a double before scoring on a wild pitch later in the inning.

They nearly doubled that 6-0 lead in the top of the fifth, getting four straight two-out hits. It started with a single by Robinson Chirinos to move Michael Brantley, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning, over to second. Tyler White was next with another RBI in this series, getting a single to score Brantley. Jake Marisnick was next, and he came through with an RBI-double before George Springer would clear the bases with a three-run dinger to make it an 11-0 game.

2) Cole gives fans a breath of fresh air

As mentioned, Astros fans were desperate for an efficient pitching performance after the woes of the last two nights. Gerrit Cole delivered, rebounding from his previous start, which was a drop-off from his usual numbers and having a more typical night.

Cole allowed only a handful of hits and a walk over the first four innings, keeping the Angels off the board until the fifth. They would tag him with his near-daily home run in that inning, a solo shot to make it an 11-1 game, the only run he would allow on the night.

Even with his pitch count in the 90s after six innings, the Astros trusted him to come back out and eat another inning. He did so, getting a 1-2-3 bottom of the seventh on three strikeouts, bringing his total on the night to eleven. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 1 HR.

Cole's excellent performance meant only two innings of relief needed from Houston' bullpen. Joe Smith provided a scoreless eighth, then Ryan Pressly wrapped things up despite allowing a run in the bottom of the ninth to make it 11-2.

Up Next: The Astros and Angels will conclude this series tomorrow with the finale of the four-game set starting an hour earlier at 8:07 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Wade Miley (7-4, 3.32 ERA) for Houston going up against Matt Harvey (3-4, 6.88 ERA) for Los Angeles.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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