Astros get win number 50 on the season

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 5-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After a day off on Monday to celebrate putting an end to their losing streak on Sunday, the Astros were back home in Houston on Tuesday night to face the Pirates. It also marked the return of George Springer to the lineup, getting them one step closer to being a fully-healthy roster. Here is how the series opener went:

Final Score: Astros 5, Pirates 1.

Record: 50-30, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (7-5, 3.42 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Trevor Williams (2-2, 4.25 ERA).

1) Return of Springer

The Astros had to be thrilled to have one of their best sluggers back in the lineup in George Springer on Tuesday night. Springer would resume his spot as the leadoff hitter, but it would be Yuli Gurriel who made the first splash on offense. After a leadoff double by Alex Bregman to start the fourth, Gurriel would deliver a two-out two-run home run to give Houston a 2-0 lead.

After the Pirates trimmed the lead to one run in the top of the sixth, Houston answered immediately with a solo home run by Alex Bregman to leadoff the bottom of the inning, putting the lead back at two runs at 3-1. Josh Reddick led off the bottom of the seventh with a double, tagged ahead to third on a fly out, then scored on a sac fly from Robinson Chirinos to extend the lead to 4-0. Springer would end up getting his first hit later in that same inning but would be left stranded.

Alex Bregman notched his third hit of the night by leading the bottom of the eighth off with a single. He'd advance to third base after a couple of wild pitches, then scored on an RBI-double by Yordan Alvarez, extending the lead to 5-1.

2) Cole throws six and allows one run

Although it wasn't a typical strikeout-filled start for Gerrit Cole, he still managed to make it a solid night. Cole, with a little help from another homer-robbing catch from Josh Reddick, didn't allow a run until the end of his game, giving up a two-out RBI-single in the top of the sixth to bring the Pirates within a run at 2-1. He would get the last out of that inning, bringing his final line to 6 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 0 HR.

That left it up to the bullpen to complete the final three innings. Josh James came in for the seventh and retired Pittsburgh in order including two strikeouts. Will Harris was next out, and thanks to a couple of great defensive plays was able to record a quick 1-2-3 inning. Collin McHugh, also making his return from the IL today along with George Springer, pitched his first inning of work and was able to get a scoreless inning to secure Houston's 50th win of the year.

Up Next: Houston and Pittsburgh will continue this series with game two tomorrow at 7:10 PM. The Pirates have not yet announced their starter, but the Astros will send Framber Valdez (3-3, 3.61 ERA) to the mound for another start, and will try to rebound from his rough outing in New York this past weekend.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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