Astros secure series win against Cubs

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 4 hits from the 9-6 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston had the chance to secure the series win against Chicago on Tuesday night after the win on Memorial Day. With injuries piling up, the game marked another debut, this time for catcher Garret Stubbs. Here is a recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 9, Cubs 6.

Record: 37-19, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Josh James (2-0, 5.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jon Lester (3-4, 3.59 ERA).

1) Memorable debut for Stubbs 

Garret Stubbs, just like Jack Mayfield the day before, squared up a ball in his first major league at-bat to record a double as his first hit. In his next appearance, he tied the game 3-3 on a blooper RBI-single. He'd finish 2-for-4 with an RBI at the plate while catching five different pitchers behind it in the win.

2) Forgettable night for Martin

While Stubbs had a great debut, Corbin Martin had his third straight rough appearance. Martin worked around a couple of singles in the first for a scoreless inning but got hammered in the top of the second as the Cubs would hit three solo home runs in the span of four batters.

He'd come back and work around a leadoff walk for a scoreless third, but with his pitch count rising and after allowing a two-out walk, would see his night come to an end. His final line: 3.2 IP, 5H, 3R, 3ER, 3BB, 4K.

3) Strong offensive showing

Yuli Gurriel started the scoring on Tuesday night with an RBI-double to put the Astros up 1-0 in the bottom of the first. After going down 3-1, Alex Bregman answered with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the third, trimming the lead to 3-2.

Stubbs notched his first RBI in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game, then Houston went on to double up the Cubs with an RBI-single from Derek Fisher then a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, making it a 6-3 Houston lead. In the bottom of the sixth, after Chicago had just tied the game in the top half, Bregman delivered his second home run of the night, a two-run bomb to put the Astros back in front, 8-6.

They didn't stop there; Tony Kemp hit a two-out single in the bottom of the seventh, stole second, moved to third on an error, then scored on an RBI-double from Jake Marisnick to give Houston an insurance run at 9-6.

4) Bullpen tasked with providing long relief

With Martin's night done after just three and two-thirds innings, the Astros went to Josh James to eat up a few innings. James finished off the fourth with a strikeout, then racked up two more in a scoreless fifth. In the sixth, though, he'd let the Cubs come right back with a two-run home run followed immediately by a solo shot to make it a 6-6 game.

With a new 8-6 lead, Hector Rondon took over for the seventh and with a little assistance from a great catch in foul territory by Tony Kemp, got through a scoreless inning. Ryan Pressly came in, as usual, for the eighth, and was able to work around a leadoff double to maintain the three-run lead.

Roberto Osuna was brought in for another save opportunity in the top of the ninth. He saved fans the theatrics of the day before, getting through the inning with no runs scored to complete the 9-6 win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: The Astros and Cubs will wrap up this inter-league series tomorrow night with a 7:10 PM start time for the final game. The pitching matchup will be Wade Miley (5-2, 3.32 ERA) who will try to complete the sweep for Houston facing off with Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 3.34 ERA) for Chicago.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Houston loses first game to Oakland

A's end losing streak against Astros with late homers

Lance McCullers Jr. went five innings of one-run ball Friday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After maintaining their stronghold against the A's in Thursday's home opener, the Astros had the chance to lock up the three-game series victory against Oakland with a win on Friday night. On the mound, Lance McCullers Jr. hoped to improve upon his first start against this same team, a five-inning one-run outing.

Instead, he would have the same outcome, once again lasting five innings while allowing one run, before a big tie-breaking home run late in the game would push Oakland out of their losing skid against the Astros.

Final Score: A's 6, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 6-2, tied for first in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Yusmeiro Petit (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (1-1)

McCullers Jr. makes it through five

McCullers Jr. looked sharp through the first three innings, allowing just two baserunners, one on a second-inning single, then a walk in the third. Oakland did better against him the second time through their order in the fourth, with Jed Lowrie leading the inning off with a solo home run to put Oakland in front 1-0.

They went on to load the bases with one out on an error and two walks, but McCullers would strand them all. He returned for the fifth, a much cleaner inning where a caught stealing by Martin Maldonado would help him face just three batters. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 88 P.

Oakland gets homer-happy to even the series

McCullers Jr. would leave the game without being eligible for the winning or losing decision, as an RBI-groundout by Kyle Tucker in the fourth would have it tied 1-1. Bryan Abreu was the first out of Houston's bullpen, and he would attempt to eat up multiple innings. He had perfect innings in the sixth and seventh, retiring six A's in order to maintain the stalemate.

Abreu remained in the game in the top of the eighth, allowing a single before getting a strikeout, ending his run as Dusty Baker would bring in left-handed Blake Taylor. Taylor would give up a single against his first batter, then a loud go-ahead three-run home run to Matt Olson to push the A's back in front 4-1. They'd add two more insurance runs off of Joe Smith in the top of the ninth, getting a two-run home run by Mark Canha to extend the lead to 6-1.

Oakland's bullpen would hold on to the newly created lead, allowing just one run on a sac fly by Jose Altuve in the bottom of the ninth, finally ending their losing streak against Houston and setting up the rubber game on Saturday to be for the series victory.

Up Next: This series's finale will be a Saturday afternoon start, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM. For the Astros, Jose Urquidy (0-0, 4.15 ERA) will look to get a win on the board, while Oakland will hand the ball to Frankie Montas (0-1, 23.63 ERA).

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