Astros get memorial day win over Cubs

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 6-5 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

With both teams losing on Sunday, the Astros and Cubs wanted a victory on Memorial Day to get back in the win column and start this highly-anticipated series on a good note. The game also marked the MLB-debut of Jack Mayfield for Houston. Here's the result of Monday's game:

Final Score: Astros 6, Cubs 5.

Record: 36-19, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Gerrit Cole (5-5, 4.02 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Cole Hamels (4-1, 4.02 ERA).

1) Cubs strike early against Cole, then Cole strikes back

Chicago, whose fans showed up in force to Minute Maid Park, received a lead off the bat of Anthony Rizzo in the bottom of the first. Rizzo drilled a ball from Gerrit Cole into the upper right-field deck, giving the Cubs a quick 2-0 lead. Cole rebounded quickly from it, though, and would go on to have a great day.

After the home run, he allowed just two other hits while striking out a dozen, matching his season-high and bringing his total to 112 for the year. His final line: six innings, three hits, two runs, one walk, and twelve strikeouts.

2) Mayfield delivers in debut 

Jack Mayfield got his first major league hit out of the way in his first at-bat which came in the bottom of the second inning. He didn't miss a home run by much, doubling off the left-field scoreboard which put runners on second and third. Tyler White took advantage of that with a sacrifice fly to trim Chicago's lead to 2-1.

The Astros got after Hamels again in the bottom of the third, getting back-to-back RBI hits from Yuli Gurriel and Robinson Chirinos to take a 3-2 led. That brought Mayfield to the plate again who notched his first RBI with a groundout to extend the lead to 4-2. The scoring wouldn't stop there, Derek Fisher would deliver an RBI-single to make it 5-2, followed by Jake Marisnick with an RBI-groundout to extend the lead to 6-2.

3) Bullpen closes it out

With Cole's day over after six innings, it was up to the bullpen to hold on to the four-run lead for the final three. Hector Rondon took over on the mound in the seventh but after allowing a two-out RBI-single left in favor of Will Harris who would get the last out of the inning thanks to a great diving catch by Tyler White.

Ryan Pressly had the eighth in the 6-3 game and was able to work around a one-out walk to get through the inning scoreless. In the ninth, Roberto Osuna took over and had a rough time, allowing a leadoff solo home run and then a one-out solo home run, getting the Cubs within a run, but would eventually finish off the game for the Memorial Day victory.

Up Next: Game two of this series between Houston and Chicago will have a usual weeknight start of 7:10 PM tomorrow. The pitching matchup will feature Corbin Martin (1-1, 4.97 ERA) for the Astros looking to shrug off a couple of poor starts as he faces Jon Lester (3-3, 2.68 ERA) for the Cubs.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Houston accused of more wrongdoing

New report of illegal sign-stealing puts Astros back under scrutiny

Jason Behnken / Getty Images

Back in 2017, the Houston Astros could be considered the darlings of the MLB. They helped pull a Harvey-ravaged city out of despair and into a celebration in a matter of months with the acquisition of Justin Verlander and subsequent World Series victory. The young team full of potential suddenly had the attention of not only fans but other MLB clubs and the league's front office.

On Tuesday, that attention reared itself yet again in a severely negative way, with the Athletic reporting (subscription required) that former-Astro Mike Fiers was alleging and confirming that his former team used illegal means to steal signs in their 2017 championship season. Fiers, along with three other anonymous sources with the team in 2017, claims that the team used cameras and other technology to monitor opposing catchers to relay signs to batters in real-time. The Astros have released the following statement:

"Regarding the story posted by The Athletic earlier today, the Houston Astros organization has begun an investigation in cooperation with Major League Baseball. It would not be appropriate to comment further on this matter at this time."

While GM Jeff Luhnow had this to say:

Another negative blow to the team's reputation

This is not the first time the Astros have been under a microscope in recent years, the most recent being less than a month ago when assistant general manager Brandon Taubman taunted reporters in the Astros clubhouse following their ALCS series-clinching win. The Astros fumbled that event, coming out with a rebuttal against the reporter, which would eventually be retracted, and Taubman terminated from his employment.

Neither is this the first time the Astros have dealt with accusations of sign-stealing and other forms of cheating. In this year's ALCS, the Yankees complained about a "whistling" noise from Houston's dugout they believed to be a method of relaying pitches to batters at the plate. Also, in the 2018 postseason, the Astros found themselves under fire for having an employee taking photos of the opposing team's dugout.

It's just part of the game until it's not

Both pitch tipping and stealing signs are things that are nearly unavoidable in baseball. With the catcher having to relay a sign to the pitcher 60.5 feet away using his hands, the opposing team will inevitably try to decipher what's coming. The same is true of tipping, where if a pitcher has a tell before a specific pitch, that information will quickly spread through the dugout.

However, there is a line teams should not cross, and that comes by way of utilizing technology to aid further the ability to steal signs, and using that to give an immediate advantage to a batter amid an at-bat. The Astros are not the first team to be alleged of this type of grievance, as the Red Sox received a fine after utilizing a smartwatch to try and steal signs.

It's a widely known and accepted fact that teams will try anything within reason to get a leg up on their opponent. However, with technology ever improving both for organizations to use and be caught by, it's no surprise that this is becoming an issue that the MLB will have to deal with, and soon.

Ramifications could loom large

Will the Astros be found guilty and made an example of to deter other teams for trying similar tactics? It appears we will have to wait for the conclusion of this investigation to find out. While it may not be an indictment of the entire team, it will bring into question the integrity and character of many of the team.

Still, no matter the outcome, the report alone and continued negativity surrounding the Astros organization has made them villains of many, a role that many would not have expected this team to play if asked just two years ago.

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