Houston's offense struggles in loss

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-1 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros were able to take game one of this series against the Orioles on Friday night, though it took eleven innings to pull off. Houston and Baltimore were right back at it on Saturday afternoon, and here's how the middle game of the series went:

Final Score: Orioles 4, Astros 1.

Record: 44-22, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Paul Fry (1-3, 3.29 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Will Harris (1-1, 1.54 ERA).

1) Reddick gets hit 1,000 in an mostly quiet offensive day

After being blanked through the first five innings, Houston finally threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with no outs and a chance to erase a 1-0 deficit. They'd come away with just one run, getting an RBI from Yuli Gurriel on a sac fly to tie the game 1-1.

That would be the lone run the Astros would manage during the game, though Josh Reddick was able to notch a milestone with the 1,000th hit of his career with a single in the bottom of the second.

2) Valdez fills starter spot well 

Framber Valdez was terrific in his first start of 2019, filling the vacant spot in the rotation after Corbin Martin was optioned back to AAA after some rough starts. Valdez didn't allow a run until the sixth inning, a solo home run which broke the scoreless tie.

Besides that one hiccup, Valdez was electric and had a great day, recording efficient innings on his way to a seven-inning afternoon. His final line: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 1 HR.

3) Orioles go-ahead in the eighth, add insurance in the ninth

Will Harris took over for Valdez in the top of the eighth but would deal with a lot of traffic. Baltimore started the inning with a single followed by a double to get runners on the corners with no outs. Bregman made a great heads-up play on a ground ball to catch the runner between third and home to save a run and keep it a tie game.

Harris was able to get another ground ball in the next at-bat which had double-play potential but instead an errant throw by Jack Mayfield after getting the out at second allowed the go-ahead run to score. Reymin Guduan pitched the top of the ninth, but after getting two strikeouts to start the inning allowed a walk then two-run home run to put the game out of reach.

Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this series with the Orioles with the rubber game tomorrow at 1:10 PM. Wade Miley (5-3, 3.39 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston looking win the series, while Baltimore is expected to start Dylan Bundy (3-6, 4.64 ERA).

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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