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

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.

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With both Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers making their way back from surgeries that sideline that Astros pitchers last season, and given the team's thin depth in their starting rotation, Houston fans and media have waited on bated breath for scraps of information to leak out of the notoriously secretive organization regarding their progress.

In a week full of mostly Hurricane Beryl-related bad news, the Astros organization had some discouraging news of their own when manager Joe Espada told the media that Lance McCullers has been shut down from pitching after his arm did not respond well to his latest bullpen session. The team says they are "formulating a plan for what's next."

Another Astros starter making his way back from injury is HOF-bound Justin Verlander. Verlander has been on the IL since June 16th with neck discomfort and, while there was initial hope that JV would only miss a start, his status has become increasingly murky as he is still apparently not close to returning.

Shifting from the health questions of the starters to the performance questions of the bullpen, some Houston fans have voiced concern via social media that Astros big-ticket 9th inning pitcher Josh Hader is not looking like a "shut-down" closer. Hader gave up more home runs in the first week of July (3) as he did the entire month of June (2).

In this week's episode of Stone Cold Stros, Charlie Pallilo and Brandon Strange discuss how the fluid dynamics of Astros pitching is impacting the competitive landscape of the division race. To watch the conversation, just click the video YouTube embedded in this article. To listen to the entire episode on podcast, search "Stone Cold Stros" in your favorite podcast app or click one of the following links.

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