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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Houston is back in the win column

McCullers Jr. spins a gem as Astros get a much-needed win over Giants

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

After getting swept by the A's in Oakland to end a road trip with a five-game losing streak, the Astros returned to Houston to try and get back on track. To do so, they'd need a win against the Giants on Monday night. Here is a quick recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 6, Giants 4.

Record: 7-9, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Logan Webb (1-1, 2.81 ERA).

Houston builds up an early lead

The early goings of Monday's game went very similar to the last time Lance McCullers Jr. took the mound. He would have a terrific first three innings while his offense gave him an early lead. The first run came in the bottom of the second, with Yuli Gurriel reaching base on a one-out double, moving to third on a wild pitch, then scoring on an RBI-single by Carlos Correa.

Correa would take part in a four-run inning in the third, as Houston would score two on a two-RBI ground-rule double by Michael Brantley, another on an error, then Correa's second RBI of the night, a groundout to bring in a run and make it 5-0. Unlike the last start in Arizona, where the roof opened and McCullers Jr. fell apart in the fourth, he was able to make quick work of his opponent for a 1-2-3 frame. As he kept recording scoreless innings, Martin Maldonado added another run to the lead with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-0.

McCullers Jr. takes a no-hitter into the seventh

While the Astros were building their lead, McCullers Jr. was spinning a gem on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner through the first six innings, which came on a hit-by-pitch. He entered the seventh with a no-hitter in progress, but the Giants would get their first hit of the night to end the no-hit bid.

Regardless, the start was precisely what McCullers Jr. needed to restore his confidence after the disastrous inning he had in his last appearance. He would go on to complete the seventh inning before Houston would go to the bullpen with the large lead in the eighth. His final line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K 0 HR, 1 HPB.

Houston gets back in the win column despite more struggles by Josh James

Josh James entered out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth but allowed the first run of the night for San Francisco via a solo home run with one out to make it 6-1. He would complete the inning and then return for the top of the ninth. He would have another rocky inning, issuing a leadoff walk before a single and double would make it a four-run game at 6-2, still with no outs in the inning and runners on second and third, prompting another call to the bullpen.

Dusty Baker would bring in his current closer, Ryan Pressly, to try and finish the game, now in a save situation. Pressly would retire the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-RBI single to make it 6-4, but would eventually get the final out to get Houston the much-needed win. With the victory, the Astros moved back into second place in the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Tuesday at 8:10 PM Central. The Giants, working with a fluid rotation, have not yet fully decided on their starter, while the Astros will get another start from Brandon Bielak (2-0, 0.87 ERA) who will look to repeat the success of his five-inning, no-run start in Arizona last week.

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