Astros extend winning streak to 8 games

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 3 hits from the 5-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros took the field Wednesday night looking to complete a three-game sweep against the Detroit Tigers. Houston capitalized on a strong start from their ace with big contributions at the plate from their bench.

Final Score: Astros 5, Tigers 1

Record: 29-15, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (7-1, 2.38 ERA)

Losing pitcher: Gregory Soto (0-2, 13.50 ERA)

1. Verlander tosses gem in familiar territory

Justin Verlander's second ever start against his old team was the storyline going into this series and when the 36 year old was handed the ball to complete the sweep, he didn't disappoint. Verlander fired 7 innings of 2-hit baseball, surrendering one homerun while striking out 9. Verlander shows no signs of slowing down as he ranks first in the AL in record (7-1), WHIP (0.79), and second in strikeouts (77).

2. Jakeday delivers

The hallmark of this season's roster and their current streak is the ability to pick up each other's slack when someone has an off night. Tonight was no different, and while Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa each had their typically large contributions, George Springer turned in an 0-5 night. The effects were hardly felt, however, as Jake Marisnick went 2-3 with a single, a triple and two RBIs. He batted ninth.

3. Still Streaking

Since their embarrassing 2-12 defeat last Tuesday against the struggling Kansas City Royals (the one that included two grand slams and a Tyler White relief pitching appearance), the Astros have been white hot. With the win Wednesday night, the Astros have swept two teams in a row, and are riding an eight-game win streak heading into this weekend's series against Boston. The Astros are averaging an unreal 8.25 runs per game during this stretch, while holding their opponents to just 4.25. That number looks a lot better when you consider the fact that the runs being scored are typically against lower tier relievers that are only seeing action because the score is so out of hand.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off tomorrow before kicking off a three game series at Boston on Friday at 6:10. Gerrit Cole (4-4, 3.88 ERA) will face Rick Porcello (3-3, 5.15 ERA).

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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