Astros win on late rally

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 3-2 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After ending a successful homestand, the Astros took to the road to start a west-coast trip against some AL West foes. First up was a three-game weekend series in Oakland. Here's a recap of the first of those three that took place Friday night:

Final Score: Astros 3, A's 2

Record: 38-20, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Hector Rondon (3-1, 2.70 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lou Trivino (2-2, 3.81 ERA).

1) Peacock powers through six innings

Brad Peacock did not have the same filthy arsenal on Friday night as he has had in recent starts, struggling to find the zone in many at-bats throughout the night. Still, the most significant damage he would allow came on one hit, a two-run home run in the third inning which put Oakland up 2-0. Those would be the only runs he would allow, managing to still post a decent line in what could've been a much worse start. Peacock's final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K.

2) Houston finally gets on the board in the seventh

Former-Astro Mike Fiers was holding Houston's lineup at bay through the first six innings, allowing just three hits over that span. Houston finally got a hit worth a run off the bat of Josh Reddick in the top of the seventh, a solo home run to cut the lead in half at 2-1. Later in the same inning, Tyler White would work a walk before getting pinch-ran for by Myles Straw. That would prove to be a great substitution as Straw's speed would prevail on an RBI-double by Tony Kemp, scoring Straw from first base to tie the game.

The offense kept rolling in the top of the eighth with Derek Fisher blasting a go-ahead solo home run to straightaway center-field on the first pitch of the inning, making it a 3-2 Houston lead, their first of the game and one that would hold through the end.

3) Rondon, Pressly, and Osuna close it out

Hector Rondon would take over for the bottom of the seventh inning, and despite allowing a leadoff double would get out of the jam thanks to some strong defense behind him, a great play by Jack Mayfield who had just entered the game at shortstop, which likely saved a run.

Now the owners of a one-run lead, the Astros non-surprisingly went to their setup man, Ryan Pressly, in the bottom of the eighth. He'd also need a big defensive play, this time from Tony Kemp, to retire Oakland in order and send the game to the ninth. Roberto Osuna came in to save the one-run game and would do so to give Houston a victory in the first of three games in this series.

Up Next: The Astros will draw another late start in Oakland tomorrow night with game two of the series starting at 9:10 PM. Houston will send ace Justin Verlander (8-2, 2.38 ERA) to the mound to try and get back in the win column after a loss in his last start as he pitches opposite of Brett Anderson (6-3, 3.86) for the A's.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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