Astros take another from the Rangers

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After an exciting finish to the first game of the series, the Astros looked to take game two on Friday night against the Rangers. Here's a quick rundown and four points from the game:

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 0

Record: 24-15, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (6-1, 2.51 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (4-3, 5.48 ERA)

1) Altuve exits with an injury

After reaching base by hustling out an infield single, Jose Altuve would try to stay in and run but would eventually get removed from the game with a leg injury. The current status is left hamstring discomfort (a term Astros that fans are all too familiar with) which has him day-to-day. Hopefully, that diagnosis is correct and not something more long-term.

2) Verlander throws seven shutout innings in win

Friday night was just another day at the office for Justin Verlander. He threw seven one-hit innings of shutout baseball, and along the way threw eight strikeouts to move him to 22nd on the all-time list, sitting at 2,774 in his great career so far. The scoreless night also moved his ERA down to 2.51 on the year. The win moves him to 6-1 on the year.

3) Bottom of the order powers through

As proof that there's no easy out in this Houston lineup, it was the 7-8-9 hitters that provided most of the offense in this game. Jake Marisnick got the Astros on the board with a solo home run in the third to make it a 1-0 game. After some quiet innings, Yuli Gurriel and Robinson Chirinos made some noise with back-to-back homers to extend the lead to 3-0.

4) Pressly and Osuna close it out

With Verlander done after seven innings, the Astros looked to their one-two punch of Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna to close out the win. Pressly extended his scoreless inning streak to 35 with a 1-2-3 eighth including a strikeout, moving the 3-0 game to the ninth. Roberto Osuna came in looking to grab his tenth save of the year, and with a little help from Josh Reddick for the second consecutive night, was able to do so to close out the victory for Houston.

Up Next: Game three of this four-game set will get started at 7:10 PM tomorrow night in Houston. The Astros will send Gerrit Cole (3-4, 4.17 ERA) to the mound to extend his league-lead in strikeouts. He'll be up against Drew Smyly (0-2, 6.63 ERA) for the Rangers.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Houston needs a win to advance

ALWC Game 2 Preview: Astros vs. Twins

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It took all nine innings, but the Astros rallied late and took Game 1 by a score of 4-1 and are in the driver's seat in this best-of-three series. They'll return to Target Field, home of the Twins, on Wednesday afternoon to try and get the win and advance to the ALDS. Here's what you need to know about Game 2:

Game Facts

When: Wednesday, 12:08 PM Central

Where: Target Field - Minneapolis, Minnesota

TV: ESPN 2

Streaming: ESPN App

Pitching Matchup: Jose Urquidy+ vs. José Berríos.

Series: HOU leads 1-0.

Series Schedule

Date & Time (Central) Location Pitching Matchup
Game 1 Astros 4, Twins 1 Target Field, Minneapolis Greinke vs. Maeda
Game 2 Wed 9/30, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis Urquidy+ vs. Berríos
Game 3* Thu 10/1, 12:08 PM Target Field, Minneapolis McCullers Jr.+ vs. Pineda+

* If necessary.
+ Projected starters.

Game Storylines

Houston's offense has to get going earlier

The Twins' error in the ninth inning in Game 1 was a gift for the Astros that they were able to take advantage of and score the winning runs. It's unlikely to be handed another chance like that in the postseason, so in Game 2, it's paramount that Houston creates their own opportunities at the plate.

The good news is, every batter in the lineup was able to reach base in the first game, either by hit or walk. However, they would go 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position while leaving nine on base during the game. Because they can't expect to have two pitchers to combine for a one-run game on Wednesday, they will have to carry over the momentum from the end of Game 1 into Game 2 to build a lead their bullpen can carry.

Trust your arms to navigate through

Whether it's Jose Urquidy, who is the likely candidate, or anyone else who ends up starting Wednesday's game, the Astros have to be prepared to have a longer stretch of innings filled by their bullpen. Despite his struggles to end the regular season, Greinke did well only to allow one run to the Twins over his four innings in Game 1.

You should expect a similar outcome in Game 2, where hopefully your starter can hold the Twins at bay for as long as they can before needing to make the change to relievers. It will be interesting to see how Dusty Baker plays that situation, mostly dependent on the score at the time, as he could have someone like Cristian Javier come in for multiple innings. The only thing the Astros shouldn't do is fire too many of their bullets and put their chances in a potential Game 3 at risk.

Be sure to check SportsMap after the final out for an in-depth recap of the game, and follow me on Twitter for updates and reactions throughout each playoff game: @ChrisCampise

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome