Alvarez homers in debut as Astros take series win

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 4-0 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The series finale between the Astros and Orioles on Sunday afternoon had a much bigger storyline behind it other than being the rubber game of the three-game series. It was the debut of phenom Yordan Alvarez, power slugger in the Astros' farm system, who received his highly-anticipated call up on Sunday morning. Here is how the first game with him in the lineup went:

Final Score: Astros 4, Orioles 0.

Record: 45-22, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Wade Miley (6-3, 3.14 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.50 ERA).

1) Welcome to the Alvarez era 

Yordan Alvarez made his presence felt in a big way in the bottom of the fourth. After popping out in his first at-bat, the Astros would go hitless through the first three innings. Yuli Gurriel changed that with a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, bringing Alvarez up to the plate for his second ever plate appearance.

He gave fans a display of his power, hammering an opposite-field ball for the two-run home run to put the Astros up 2-0. Alvarez would finish 1-for-3 on the day with a walk and the 2 RBIs off of his two-run home run.

2) Miley keeps the O's at 0 

Wade Miley had a great day on the mound, keeping the Orioles off the board while he was on the mound. Miley allowed just four hits and one walk through the first six innings, keeping him on pace to go deep into the game. In the seventh, though, he'd struggle with the middle of Baltimore's order allowing a couple of singles and a walk to load the bases and end his day. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.

3) Astros tack on two more runs, bullpen closes it out

Still 2-0 in the sixth inning, the Astros were able to extend their lead on an RBI-single from Josh Reddick to make it 3-0. In the top of the seventh, after Miley's day came to a close after loading the bases with no outs, Ryan Pressly was called in to try and limit the damage. Pressly, with some good defense behind him, was able to manage the situation perfectly, keeping Baltimore off the board and ending the threat.

Hector Rondon was next out of the bullpen and pitched the top of the eighth before Yuli Gurriel added one more insurance run with a sac fly in the bottom of the inning to extend the lead to 4-0. Josh James came in for the ninth, but after back-to-back two-out walks was pulled in favor of Roberto Osuna who would record the final out to close out the shutout and give Houston the series win.

Up Next: Houston will get a much-needed day off on Monday before continuing this homestand with a short two-game series with Milwaukee on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday's game will start at 7:10 PM and the expected pitching matchup is Brad Peacock (5-3, 3.20 ERA) for the Astros and Jimmy Nelson (0-1, 12.00 ERA) for the Brewers.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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After a short turnaround, the NASCAR Cup Series heads to their Mecca at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the famed Coca-Cola 600. Of all the races in NASCAR, after Daytona this race may be the most important race on the schedule. The tradition started back in 1959 when former driver and hall of famer Curtis Turner teamed up with Burton Smith to build the track and upon its completion, they decided to make the first race at the new track on the same day as the Indy 500. In an effort to draw fans, they made the race 100 miles longer and from there the rest was history. This year's rendition will be somber though as no fans will be permitted to enter due to Covid-19, but even in this time of unrest it will be a relief to continue to see our heroes take on NASCAR's longest race.

For the first time, NASCAR pulled off it's first midweek race and it was a doozy. For most of the race there was a wide range of characters who were up front. Clint Bowyer set the tone early as he went on to win the first two stages but after getting caught in traffic he fell back. To make matters worse, Bowyer was involved in an accident that ended any chance of victory. While it wasn't the outcome he would have hoped for, to see how well he ran is a sign of good things to come for the Kansas native. I look forward to seeing how he rebounds.

With Bowyer out of it, the attention shifted to Chase Elliott. All night it seemed like he had the second best car and looked to be on his way to another victory but after the caution for Bowyer, Elliott lost a ton of track position after a bad pit-stop. This left the sports most popular driver stuck in traffic, but he was able to make his way back to second. In the final laps, he was easily the best car and appeared to be on his way past Denny Hamlin to take the victory but Kyle Busch had other ideas. The defending champion made a sudden right hand turn and veered into Elliott sending him head on into the wall.

It was safe to say that Elliott was not pleased as he gave Busch the one finger salute as he drove by under caution. The race was not able to resume as Mother Nature intervened giving Hamlin his second win of the season. Many fans and experts alike were critical of Busch's stunt, Jeff Gordon was quoted as saying "Not sure what that was all about." When the race was over, Busch was confronted by Elliott's Crew Chief Alan Gufston. When it was said and done security had to be called to separate the two. While it might not have been intentional, Busch has opened up a can of worms in the future for retaliation. It will be fun to watch what happens next.

Overall, the response to NASCAR's midweek race was overwhelmingly positive as it was the third highest watched event on television. As NASCAR continues to be fluid, more and more people are becoming interested. NASCAR journalist and reporter Adam Stern tweeted that more than thirty percent of the viewers of Sunday's race were new viewers. Even though we may not always agree with the way NASCAR does things, I have to say they have done an outstanding job at putting this schedule together. I hope that in the future, NASCAR continues this new tradition.

Moving on to Charlotte, The driver I have winning this weekend is Chase Elliott. In every race this season, Chase has been a force to be reckoned but has simply run into circumstances he can't control. At Vegas before the shutdown, he seemed to have the race in hand until a flat tire ended any chances of victory. Two weeks later at Phoenix, he led ninety-three laps until fading to a seventh place finish and with a new-found fire lit under him after Darlington, Elliott will be like a bull in the china shop come Sunday. While he has been great at every track he has run at, he has been especially fast at Charlotte. He currently has a 10.60 average finish there and has consistently led laps. This week, I think Elliott will get redemption and claim his sixth career victory in one of NASCAR's crown jewels. Look for him to take his #9 Napa Camaro to victory lane.

(All stats and information used in this article is brought to you by the good folks at driveraverages.com and Racing-Reference.com the best website for all NASCAR stats)

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