Astros make it back-to-back walk-off wins

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 6-5 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Fresh off of their desperately-needed walk-off win on Friday night, the Astros hosted the Mariners for game two of the three-game weekend series which was televised nationally on FOX. Here is a quick recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 5.

Record: 52-32, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Chris Devenski (2-0, 4.58 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Roenis Elias (2-1, 3.55 ERA).

1) Exciting second inning

With the recent offensive struggles for Houston, Seattle taking a 2-0 lead on a home run off of Justin Verlander in the top of the second inning looked like a big blow to the Astros' chances in the game. However, they'd respond with a huge inning in the bottom half to resurrect their offensive momentum.

Michael Brantley and Yuli Gurriel worked back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the second, then with one out Josh Reddick induced an infield error which allowed Brantley to score, trimming the lead to 2-1. Jake Marisnick was up next and gave Houston their first lead of the night with a two-RBI double. George Springer would extend the lead with a one-out RBI-single, then Jose Altuve would score one more to make it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly. The Astros would send nine batters to the plate in the successful inning.

2) Verlander needed all he could get

It was a good thing for Justin Verlander that his offense backed him up with that five-run third inning because he would need all five of them. After the two-run home run he allowed in the second, he'd also let Seattle get runners on second and third with no outs in the third, but was able to limit them to just one run that inning.

With the lead still 5-3 in the fifth, he'd allow yet another home run, a solo shot to get the Mariners within one at 5-4. After the long and stressful innings that led to that point, A.J. Hinch would not try to extend him past his 100 pitch count, going to the bullpen in the sixth. Verlander's final line: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 2 HR.

3) Bullpen tasked with another long outing

With Verlander's night over surprisingly short, it was up to Houston's relievers to preserve their one-run lead. Hector Rondon was first out of the bullpen but would only be able to record two outs while walking two batters before being lifted in favor of Will Harris who would finish off the inning.

Ryan Pressly would take over in the seventh, instead of his usual role as the eighth inning set up, and after two outs would see the game tied on a solo home run by Seattle. Collin McHugh was next to pitch the top of the eighth, and he looked great yet again out of the bullpen since his return from injury, striking out all three batters he faced.

Roberto Osuna was brought in for the ninth to try and keep the game tied and set up back-to-back walk-off wins for Houston. He was able to get through the inning by retiring the Mariners in order.

4) Gurriel does it in extras again

With the game still tied 5-5 in the bottom of the ninth, the Astros had the top of their order up to try and win the game. George Springer nearly hit the winning home run on to straightaway center to lead off the inning but came up just a few feet short. They'd come up empty in the inning, resulting in back-to-back nights with extra innings.

Chris Devenski was the next reliever out for Houston, and he was able to work around a two-out single to give his team another chance at the walk-off. Michael Brantley, on his jersey giveaway night, started the bottom of the tenth off with a single. He moved to second on a wild pitch, then scored on an RBI-double from Yuli Gurriel, making it back-to-back nights with game-winning hits.

Up Next: The series finale between these two teams will take place tomorrow at 1:10 PM. Seattle will send Marco Gonzalez (9-6, 4.34 ERA) to the mound while Houston will start Gerrit Cole (7-5, 3.42 ERA). Cole (151 strikeouts) will have a chance to regain the top spot in the league in strikeouts if he can catch and pass Max Scherzer (156) who also pitches on Sunday.

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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