Astros thump Blue Jays in game one of three

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 15-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With a day off on Thursday, the Astros were back at Minute Maid Park on Friday night to host a Father's Day weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays. Gerrit Cole was on the mound for Houston hoping to repeat the success of his seven-inning fourteen-strikeout start he had last time out. Here's how the first game of the series went:

Final Score: Astros 15, Blue Jays 2.

Record: 47-23, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (6-5, 3.67 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Aaron Sanchez (3-8, 5.04 ERA).

1) Taking a commanding early lead, tacking on more late

After the Blue Jays loaded the bases in the top of the first and came away empty, the Astros would have no such problem, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first including a bases-loaded two-RBI single by Robinson Chirinos to start the scoring for the night. Josh Reddick was next up and provided a sacrifice fly to make it a 3-0 lead after one.

They kept scoring in the next two innings, getting a three-run home run from Alex Bregman in the bottom of the second to make it 6-0, then a two-run homer by Tony Kemp in the bottom of the third to extend the lead to 8-0.

Up 10-2 in the eighth inning, the Astros tacked on more runs for good measure, loading the bases before an RBI-walk from Yordan Alvarez followed immediately by a grand slam from Robinson Chirinos to make it a 15-2 Houston lead.

2) Alvarez goes 3 for 4 with a home run and RBI-walk

Yordan Alvarez made it three out of four games with a home run in the bottom of the fourth, launching a mammoth two-run dinger to make it a 10-0 lead after four innings. He also hit two singles, one in the bottom of the first then another in the bottom of the sixth. He'd get a chance for some more RBIs in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, but would have to settle for a walk to give him his third RBI of the night.

The home run made it three out of his first four games with a home run, the first to do so in Astros franchise history. The 3 RBIs in the game brought his total to 7 over four games, and he also increased his average to .385.

3) Cole with another double-digit strikeout start

Gerrit Cole encountered some trouble in the first inning, loading the bases after a hit batter, a walk, and a single, but would be able to get out of the trouble without allowing a run. He settled in after that, only faltering in the fifth by allowing a leadoff walk, one-out single, then a two-RBI double to Cavan Biggio, son of Hall of Fame member Craig, to trim the large lead to 10-2.

Cole would still manage to complete six innings and record another double-digit strikeout inning with ten. His final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 10 K.

4) Armenteros makes his debut and finishes last three innings

With the eight-run lead, Gerrit Cole wasn't asked to extend himself past the sixth inning getting close to 100 pitches, so after the fourteen-inning affair on Wednesday night, the Astros went to the fresher arm of Rogelio Armenteros to make his MLB-debut in the top of the seventh.

Armenteros did well, working around a leadoff single in the seventh which was his only one of two hits allowed en route to three scoreless innings including three strikeouts.

Up Next: This series will continue tomorrow afternoon with the game starting at 3:10 PM. Framber Valdez (2-2, 2.73 ERA) will have the chance for another start on the mound for Houston and will go against Clayton Richard (0-2, 7.04 ERA) for Toronto.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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