Yankees too much for the Astros yet again

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 7-5 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Carrying a six-game losing streak on their shoulders, the Astros went back to work on Saturday night in a nationally televised game to try and right the ship against the Yankees. Here's how they did:

Final Score: Yankees 7, Astros 5.

Record: 48-30, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jonathan Holder (5-2, 5.55 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ryan Pressly (1-1, 1.31 ERA).

1) Miley terrific early, struggles late 

Wade Miley's night started less than ideal, walking his first batter on four pitches then going down 2-0 on the next. He was able to bounce back very quickly, though, getting a double play to erase the walk and then a strikeout to end the first inning. Miley would lock in after that, keeping the Yankees hitless through the first four innings.

The first hit for New York was a loud one, a two-out two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to capitalize on a one-out walk earlier in the inning, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead. After the offense tied the game in the top of the sixth, Miley went back to work in the bottom of the inning but would end up loading the bases on back-to-back walks then a single to start the inning.

Will Harris would come in to finish the sixth, but not before allowing a two-run single, charged to Miley. Miley's final line: 5 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 1 HR.

2) Taking advantage of the short porch

With little offense happening through the early goings of the game, when the Yankees broke through first with their two-run home run in the fifth things looked bleak for Houston considering their recent struggles to get runners home. Josh Reddick gave the Astros a boost of momentum in the top of the sixth with a game-tying two-run home run of his own, but they'd quickly find themselves down again with the Yankees re-taking the lead in the bottom of the inning.

Houston would respond with arguably their best inning of offense in this series in the top of the seventh, getting back-to-back two-out singles from Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley before Yordan Alvarez delivered another great moment in his early career with a go-ahead three-run home run to the short porch in right field.

That gave the Astros a 5-4 lead, but it too would quickly be erased, and Houston would be unable to answer again despite getting the go-ahead run to the plate in the top of the ninth inning.

3) Pressly with a rare shaky inning

After Will Harris would watch the Yankees re-take the lead in the sixth, Ryan Pressly would meet the same fate in the seventh. With a 5-4 lead, Houston went to Ryan Pressly to try and hold down their one-run lead. Instead, Pressly would be unable to contain New York's lineup, allowing a one-out solo home run to tie the game 5-5 before later allowing a two-RBI single to put the Yankees back in front 7-5.

After stranding two runners in the top of the inning, the Astros looked to Reymin Guduan to keep the score at 7-5 in the bottom of the eighth, and he was able to do so with a little defensive help. That would end the night of pitching for Houston with the offense coming up empty in the top of the ninth, giving them their seventh loss in a row.

Up Next: Houston will wrap up this seven-game road trip with the series finale against New York tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 PM. The Astros will turn to their ace, Justin Verlander (9-3, 2.59 ERA) to get his tenth win of the season while the Yankees are expected to start J.A. Happ (7-3, 4.59 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Accountability seems to be lacking. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Did you catch exiled Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, starting his "Redemption Tour 2020," doing his best imitation of Sgt. Schultz from the classic sitcom Hogan's Heroes?

"I see nothing. I hear nothing."

Luhnow sat for 37 minutes (the extended director's cut on click2houston.com) with Channel 2 sports reporter Vanessa Richardson and insisted that he played no part in the Astros 2017-18 illegal sign-stealing operation, and didn't deserve to be suspended for one year by baseball, and ultimately fired by Astros owner Jim Crane.

"I didn't know."

"I wasn't aware."

"I wasn't involved."

"Had I known about it, I would have stopped it."

"I was punished for something I didn't do."

Remember, Luhnow wasn't just the Astros general manager, he also held the title of President of Baseball Operations, responsible for every action that took place at Minute Maid Park, on the field, in the dugout, clubhouse, bullpen and boardroom.

Everybody else seemed to know, including field manager A.J. Hinch, who admitted that he knew the Astros were cheating, tried to stop it, but couldn't.

That's some leadership that Astros had in 2017-18. A manager who couldn't get his players to stop cheating, and a general manager who claims he didn't know. The inmates truly were running the asylum.

If Luhnow is telling the truth, that makes him one monkey who saw no evil, heard no evil and spoke no evil.

On one hand, Luhnow takes credit for building a supremely gifted Astros team that has made four consecutive American League Championship Series, won two American League pennants, and captured Houston's first World Series title in 2017.

One commercial break later, he's swearing that he didn't have a clue that his team was committing baseball's crime of the century – which ultimately cost the Astros their manager, general manager, a $5 million fine, and four draft picks.

Which is it, was Luhnow a detached genius, incredibly naïve or unfortunate scapegoat?

Luhnow claimed that an honest investigation by MLB would have determined that he was merely an innocent bystander to the scandal. He told baseball commissioner Rob Manfred that he was willing to take a lie detector test to prove it, but Manfred declined his offer.

OK, Manfred said a lie detector test wasn't necessary. Why didn't Luhnow do it anyway? It might have helped mitigate some of his sentence.

Put it this way, I work at Gow Media World Headquarters in Houston. If the boss brought me into his office and said he was firing me because I was stealing equipment, or missing deadlines or harassing other employees … and I was innocent, I holler to the high heavens that I was fired unjustly. I'd hire Jim Adler, the Tough Texas Lawyer, to sue everybody who ever touched a baseball for wrongful termination, defamation of character and a hundred other things. I wouldn't take a called third strike and wait 10 months to speak up.

Right now, Luhnow's once-brilliant reputation is sullied. He's on the outside of baseball looking in. Luhnow's protestation of innocence reminds me of Jose Canseco's book, Juiced, in 2005, where the slugger claimed that steroid use was rampant in the big leagues. And he named names.

Accused players bleated that they were innocent, that Canseco was a bad apple who made up stories to cover his own use of banned drugs.

Here's when I knew that Canseco, while a rat, was right – when the accused steroid users screamed bloody murder, but didn't sue Canseco. If somebody accused you of a crime that you didn't commit, a crime that cost you your job and legacy, a crime that might keep you out of the Hall of Fame of your profession, would you stay silent for almost a year and take the punishment lying down?

We may never know if Luhnow knew or didn't know that his Astros were cheating. It's possible that he's telling the truth now. His teary-eyed interview was convincing in parts. But accepting punishment for something you didn't do, and not fighting back – it's not a good look.

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