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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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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