Oakland takes the series against Houston

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Down 2-1 in this four-game series to the A's, and with the Yankees sweeping their doubleheader to move back ahead in the overall AL standings, Houston needed a win to get back on track on Thursday night. Here is a recap of the series finale with Oakland:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 2.

Record: 95-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Homer Bailey (13-8, 4.76 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Justin Verlander (18-6, 2.58 ERA).

1) Oakland puts up three runs on Verlander

Many would have thought that having Justin Verlander on the mound Thursday night would mean a return to the norm in terms of holding opponents to few, if any, runs. Instead, it turns out that even Verlander isn't immune to the surging A's, as he would give up a run in the top of the first to put Oakland ahead 1-0.

In the third, a one-out single turned into a one-out two-run home run to put Oakland up 3-0 and put Verlander in a tough position. However, he turned things around to hold the A's scoreless through the rest of his six innings while having another double-digit strikeout start. His final line: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 1 HR.

2) Houston gets a couple back, but not enough

Houston threatened in the third, getting runners on second and third with no outs after a leadoff single and double. George Springer scored a run on an RBI-groundout to make it a 3-1 game, but Houston would not be able to trim the lead any further.

That would be their only run scored with Verlander on the mound, with Joe Smith taking over the 3-1 game in the top of the seventh and throwing a 1-2-3 scoreless inning. Josh James was next out of Houston's bullpen for the top of the eighth and worked around a two-out single to post a scoreless inning, striking out three to rebound from his recent terrible outing.

In the bottom of the inning, Jose Altuve pulled Houston within one run after a one-out solo home run to the train tracks to make it a 3-2 game. Houston would go on to load the bases with two outs, but Kyle Tucker would strike out to keep the A's in front.

Roberto Osuna would be tasked with the top of the ninth to get some work after several days off and put Oakland down in order, giving Houston one last chance to win the game. Robinson Chirinos worked a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth before being pinch-run for by Myles Straw, who moved to second on a single by Yuli Gurriel. Unfortunately, though the Astros would get the tying run to third, they would be unable to beat Oakland, giving the A's the series win.

Up Next: Houston's remaining schedule lightens up after this series with Oakland. They'll start a three-game series with the Royals in Kansas City on Friday at 7:15 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Gerrit Cole (16-5, 2.73 ERA) on the mound for Houston going up against Danny Duffy (6-6, 4.71 ERA) for the Royals.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

Astros win another against the Rangers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 4-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros, after a day off on Monday, were back in action at home on Tuesday night for the two-game conclusion of the season series with the Rangers. At 98 wins, and with their magic number down to four, it was a timely night to get Carlos Correa back in the lineup and have Justin Verlander on the mound. Here is a quick recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 4, Rangers 1.

Record: 99-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (19-6, 2.50 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (14-11, 3.77 ERA).

1) Verlander goes six scoreless

It was a stout pitching matchup early in Tuesday's game, with both Justin Verlander and Lance Lynn tossing scoreless frames through the first half of the game. Verlander would win the battle, shutting out the Rangers through six innings while Lynn would allow three runs over that same span.

Although Verlander had managed his pitch count well through his six innings, he would not be asked to extend himself as Houston gears up for the postseason. That didn't keep him from putting up more strikeouts and efficiency to his season totals, though. His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 HR.

2) Houston backs up JV with 3 home runs while the bullpen finishes it off

Meanwhile, Verlander's offense provided him with three runs of support. The first came on a solo home run by Yuli Gurriel to start the scoring for the night in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez hit two solo home runs as well, back-to-back shots to extend the lead to 3-0.

Hector Rondon was the first out of Houston's bullpen to take over for Verlander in the top of the seventh and would allow a solo home run to cut the lead to 3-1 before getting out of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Robinson Chirinos hit a blooper into left field that the Rangers converged on but could not catch, and with Chirinos not stopping on the bases, was able just to beat out the tag for a triple. He would score on an RBI-single, pushing the lead back to three runs at 4-1.

Will Harris was the next pitcher for Houston and recorded a 1-2-3 inning to maintain the lead headed to the ninth. Roberto Osuna would enter in the top of the ninth, and he was able to close out the three-run lead to reduce Houston's magic number to three and move them to 99 wins on the year.

Up Next: The final game this season between the Astros and Rangers, since Texas has already been eliminated from playoff contention, will take place on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. Kolby Allard (4-0, 4.34 ERA) is expected to get the start for the Rangers while Gerrit Cole (17-5, 2.62 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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