Astros secure a series win against the Royals

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 6-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston was able to erase the sting of the three straight losses to Oakland earlier in the week by taking the first of three games against the Royals in Kansas City on Friday night to get back on track. They had Zack Greinke on the mound Saturday night to try and lock up the series. Here is a recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 6, Royals 1.

Record: 97-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (16-5, 2.95 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Mike Montgomery (3-9, 4.70 ERA).

1) Another tightly contested game early

There was just two runs scored in the first half of the game on Saturday, one for each team. The first was by the Royals off of Zack Greinke; they got a leadoff single in the bottom of the third followed by an RBI-double to take a 1-0 lead. Alex Bregman immediately tied things up in the top of the fourth for Houston, though, hammering a solo home run to make it 1-1.

The Astros took their first lead of the night in the top of the sixth, getting runners on first and third to set up an RBI-single for Kyle Tucker. Houston had a great chance to break the game open after that, loading the bases with no outs, but would leave all three runners stranded in a disappointing end to the inning.

The run that Kansas City scored against Greinke would be his only allowed in his night of work. He had another great start, finishing six innings and leaving in line for the win. His final line: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 0 HR.

2) Astros extend their lead in the eighth to put things away

With Greinke's night over, Hector Rondon was first out of Houston's bullpen to pitch the bottom of the seventh. He recorded a scoreless inning, retiring Kansas City in order. In the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker got his fourth hit of the night with a leadoff single, then Robinson Chirinos worked a walk to put two on base for a pinch-hitting Yordan Alvarez. He took advantage of the opportunity, drilling a ball to straight center-field for a three-run homer to extend Houston's lead to 5-1.

Joe Smith took over for Rondon with the four-run lead in the bottom of the eighth, and he too was able to hold the Royals scoreless. In the top of the ninth, the Astros extended their lead after an intentional walk to Kyle Tucker loaded the bases for Robinson Chirinos, who delivered an RBi-single to make it 6-1.

With the lead now at five runs, Houston went to Bryan Abreu to try and finish things off in the bottom of the ninth. He would get two outs, but with a couple of runners on would pass the ball to Will Harris who recorded the final out. The win secured the series win and gave Houston a chance for a sweep on Sunday afternoon.

Up Next: Houston and Kansas City will wrap up this series with the finale on Sunday at 1:15 PM. Wade Miley (13-5, 3.74 ERA) will try to finally rebound from two horrible starts in his last two outings and get back on track to be the Astros' fourth starter in their playoff rotation. He'll go opposite of Jakob Junis (9-13, 5.06 ERA) for the Royals.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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