Both Cole and Houston's offense struggle in loss

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 9-4 loss

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With Justin Verlander providing quite the show the night before, the Astros were back at it on Wednesday night with Gerrit Cole on the mound. Here is a quick recap of the third game of the four-game series with Chicago:

Final Score: White Sox 9, Astros 4

Record: 33-17, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Ivan Nova (3-4, 6.96 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Gerrit Cole (4-5, 4.11 ERA).

1) Cole hits 100 strikeouts in rough outing

Gerrit Cole was not nearly as dominant on Wednesday night as in recent starts, allowing solo home runs in the second and fourth innings to put Chicago up 2-0. He was able to strike out six over those four innings, then got number seven on the night in the fifth to get to triple digits on the season.

Despite the offense backing him up to give him a 3-2 lead, Cole would struggle in the sixth as the White Sox roared back, loading the bases while scoring two runs on four consecutive hits to lead off the inning. That would be the end of Cole's night, and Josh James, despite getting two big outs to keep Chicago from scoring to that point, would allow a grand slam to blow the game open at 8-3 and give Cole 6 earned runs on the night.

2) One strong inning not enough

Houston's bats were able to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth after Alex Bregman put them on the board with a one-out solo home run then going on to get their second and third runs on RBIs from Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz.

Houston would start a rally that would come up just short in the ninth, loading the bases and getting a sac fly to make it 9-4, but would get stopped there. They'd be unable to counter-act four double plays and even a triple play in the up-and-down offensive night.

3) Brady Rodgers returns 

After taking Collin McHugh's spot on the roster with McHugh going on the injured list, Rodgers made his first appearance for Houston since 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. After getting a strikeout against his first batter, he was met with a monstrous solo home run which put Chicago up 9-3. He'd go on to retire the next two batters in order to complete the eighth. He'd then return to the mound for the ninth, getting a 1-2-3 inning to cap off his decent return.

Up Next: The Astros and White Sox will wrap up this series tomorrow night with the final game starting at 7:10 PM. Corbin Martin (1-0, 3.86 ERA) will make the third start of his career for Houston and go up against Lucas Giolito (5-1, 3.35 ERA) for Chicago.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston gets another victory in Anaheim

Astros overpower Angels again as magic number dwindles

Kyle Tucker had 3 of Houston's RBI on Tuesday night, including a two-run homer. Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

After a beatdown of the Angels on Monday in the opener, the Astros entered Tuesday's game looking to replicate that success. Though Los Angeles would put up more of a fight, Houston still used their potent offense to keep the game out of reach.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 5

Astros' Record: 90-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (8-3)

Losing Pitcher: Packy Naughton (0-3)

Houston's bats keep connecting to back up Urquidy

The Astros picked up on Tuesday's game where they left off on Monday, launching homers to take and extend a lead. A leadoff walk by Carlos Correa in the top of the second set up Kyle Tucker, who drove a two-run shot. Aledmys Diaz was next, making it back-to-back jacks to push the new lead to 3-0.

That gave Jose Urquidy a lead to work with, which came in handy as former Astro Jack Mayfield cut the lead to two runs with a leadoff solo homer in the bottom of the second. Other than that, Urquidy did well through five innings, allowing just two other hits over that span. LA got to him in the sixth, getting two singles to set up a three-run homer to end his night. His final line: 5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 79 P.

The runs keep coming

He would still leave in line for the win, though, as before that bottom of the sixth, the Astros had put up seven more runs across the fifth and sixth. A leadoff walk in the top of the fifth was followed by a two-run homer by Jose Altuve, then later in the frame, an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz made it 7-1. They pushed that to double digits in the sixth, with a leadoff solo shot by Martin Maldonado, a sac fly by Carlos Correa, and an RBI groundout by Kyle Tucker, putting them up 10-1 before the homer allowed by Urquidy cut that to 10-4.

Astros win to reduce magic number again

In the sixth, Cristian Javier took over for Urquidy, finished that inning, and returned for a scoreless seventh. He ran into Shohei Ohtani to lead off the bottom of the eighth and left a fastball in the zone, which Ohtani turned around 445 feet to make it a five-run game. Javier still got through the inning, leaving just the ninth for Houston's second reliever of the night, Josh James. James would get through a scoreless inning, erasing a leadoff walk as the lopsided win paired with an A's loss reduces Houston's magic number to 4.

Up Next: The third of this four-game series will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Wednesday. Janson Junk (0-1, 2.25 ERA) will make his third career start for the Angels, while Luis Garcia (11-7, 3.37 ERA) will have the ball for the Astros.

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