Alvarez homers again as Astros take another from Toronto

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 7-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After putting up fifteen runs the night before, the Astros sought to continue that offensive success on Saturday afternoon in the middle game of the series with the Blue Jays. Here is a quick recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 7, Blue Jays 2.

Record: 48-23, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-2, 2.77 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Clayton Richard (0-3, 7.52 ERA).

1) Valdez goes six innings in another good start

While it wasn't quite as good as his seven-inning one-run start against Baltimore last weekend, Framber Valdez still put together a solid start on the mound against Toronto. Valdez only had one rough inning, allowing a couple of runs on three hits in the fifth inning.

Otherwise, Valdez managed and held the lead he was given well, and in the end, would finish six innings of two-run baseball and earn the win. Valdez's final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 8 K.

2) Astros' offense continues to bash Toronto's pitching

Houston continued hitting the ball well on Saturday much as they did on Friday night. They got the scoring started in the bottom of the second on an RBI-double by Jack Mayfield who would come around to score later in the inning on an error, giving the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Yordan Alvarez homered yet again, getting an upper-deck blast to right-field in the bottom of the third to give him four home runs in his first five games and extend the lead to 3-0 in the game. They added two more runs to the lead in the next inning, getting RBIs from Myles Straw and Alex Bregman to make it a 5-0 game.

After the Blue Jays trimmed the lead to three runs at 5-2 in the top of the fifth inning, Houston would put it back at five runs in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run from Josh Reddick and another RBI for Straw, making it 7-2. That score would be the final in a day where the Astros would get a lot of production from their recent call ups with Alvarez going 3-for-4 with a homer, Jack Mayfield hitting three doubles, and Myles Straw knocking in two runs.

3) Bullpen finishes off the win

With Valdez's afternoon done after six innings, Houston turned to their bullpen to finish off the last three innings. Chris Devenski took over on the mound in the seventh and retired six batters in a row to complete two scoreless innings.

Josh James came in with the game still 7-2 in the top of the ninth. He'd work around a two-out single to cap off the win, setting up Houston to go for the sweep on Sunday after taking the first two of the series.

Up Next: The Astros will attempt the series sweep with Sunday's series finale starting at 1:10 PM. The Father's Day matchup on the mound will be Brad Peacock (6-3, 3.42 ERA) for Houston going opposite of Trent Thornton (1-5, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto.

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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