Astros complete the sweep of Seattle

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With the series win already locked up, the Astros looked to complete the series sweep on Sunday to end their homestand on a high note. Here's a quick rundown of Sunday's game:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 53-32, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (8-5, 3.28 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (9-7, 4.39 ERA).

1) Alvarez back in the lineup 

After getting a couple of days to rest his knee that he fouled a ball off earlier this week, Yordan Alvarez was in the lineup for the first time in this series against the Mariners. He made his presence in the batting order known, erasing a 1-0 deficit in the bottom of the first inning with a two-RBI double to give the Astros a 2-1 lead.

Alex Bregman blasted a ball with one out in the bottom of the third, coming just short of a home run but getting a fortunate bounce off the wall to result in a stand-up triple. Alvarez was up next and quickly took advantage, getting his third RBI of the day on a single to extend the lead to 3-1. He'd go 2-for-3 with an intentional walk and the 3 RBIs on the day.

2) Great day for Cole 

Gerrit Cole did not look like he was going to have a great day after the first inning where he allowed a one-out solo home run to give Seattle a quick 1-0 lead. He'd quickly and efficiently rebound from that mistake, though, locking in and keeping the Mariners off the board over the next six innings.

He'd also work his was to another double-digit strikeout game, getting ten over his seven innings to bring his season total to 161. Cole's final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 10 K, 1 HR.

3) Astros tack on a few more

With Cole's day done after his seven innings of one-run baseball, Collin McHugh took over in the top of the eighth. He would get the first two outs relatively quickly, but then allowed a single and a walk, prompting another call to the bullpen to bring out Ryan Pressly to get the final out of the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Houston put runners on second and third on a leadoff single from Josh Reddick followed by a double from Max Stassi. With one out, Jake Marisnick took advantage and drove in both with a two-RBI single to extend the lead to 5-1, then later scored on an RBI-single by Jose Altuve to make it 6-1.

With the five-run lead, Houston turned to Josh James to wrap up the game and the sweep in the top of the ninth. He did just that, striking out the side to help the Astros extend their division lead to 6.5 games with the win.

Up Next: The Astros will travel to Colorado tonight and get a day off tomorrow before starting a quick two-game series with the Rockies on Tuesday. With Brad Peacock going onto the injured list, Houston has not yet named their starter for the first of the two games, but the Rockies are expected to start German Marquez (8-3, 4.29 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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