Astros win in extra innings on Labor Day

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

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Riding high after a phenomenal no-hitter by Justin Verlander on Sunday to close out the series with the Blue Jays in Toronto, Houston turned their attention to a quick two-game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers. The first of those two games was on Labor Day Monday, and here is how it shook out:

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 3, Brewers 2.

Record: 90-49, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Roberto Osuna (4-3, 3.13 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Junior Guerra (8-5, 3.63 ERA).

1) It wasn't a no-hitter, but still a gem by Cole 

Gerrit Cole would see his chances of matching Justin Verlander with a no-hitter eliminated in the bottom of the first inning. Cole allowed a one-out solo home run, putting the Brewers up 1-0 early. He was quick to shrug off that early mistake, mowing down batters to get to another double-digit strikeout start with the tenth coming in the bottom of the fifth. In that same inning, Cole would face a tough test after loading the bases with two outs but would get another strikeout to end Milwaukee's threat.

With his pitch count rising, he emptied the tank in the bottom of the sixth trying to finish off one more inning before Houston would have to go to their bullpen. Cole would end up providing a 1-2-3 inning with two more strikeouts, bringing his total to fourteen on the day. His final line: 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 14 K, 1 HR.

2) Bregman ties it, Alvarez gives Houston the lead 


Houston's offense was able to work Adrian Houser deep into counts several times over the early parts of the game, but would not get on the scoreboard until the third inning when Alex Bregman hit an RBI-single to tie the game 1-1.

That tie lasted until the top of the sixth inning when Yordan Alvarez would hit a go-ahead solo home run to put Houston ahead 2-1. The homer was Alvarez's 22nd of his rookie campaign, tying Carlos Correa's rookie-record number from 2015.

3) Osuna allows Milwaukee to tie, Springer puts Houston ahead in the tenth

With Cole finished after his six innings, the Astros turned the ball over to Hector Rondon for the bottom of the seventh to maintain the one-run lead. He did so, retiring the Brewers in order with two strikeouts. Will Harris was next out of Houston's bullpen to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and he was able to erase a one-out single by flashing a little leather on a double play to keep the Astros ahead by one run going to the ninth.

With the score still 2-1 going to the bottom of the ninth, Roberto Osuna would come in for another save opportunity. Instead, he allowed a leadoff home run to Christian Yelich to tie the game. After two outs, Osuna had a comebacker then botched the throw to first, extending the inning, but would get a strikeout to send the game to extra innings.

In the top of the tenth, George Springer immediately broke the tie with a leadoff dinger to put Houston back in front 3-2. Josh James, making his return from a stint on the injured list, came in for the bottom of the tenth and was able to hold off the Brewers, despite two walks, to complete the win.

Up Next: The Astros will wrap up this two-game set with the Brewers on Tuesday at 6:40 PM. The expected pitching matchup is Jordan Lyles (9-8, 4.55 ERA) for Milwaukee going up against Zack Greinke (14-4, 2.99 ERA) for Houston.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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5 questions on the John Wall trade

The Rockets made a big move. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets point guard carousel continued to spin Wednesday night, as the Woj bomb-iest of Houston-related Woj bombs erupted in the Space City:

For the third year in a row, the Rockets will begin the season with a new point guard, in an attempt to finally find someone that can play alongside James Harden. Let's take a look at how the Rockets got to this point, and what it means moving forward.

What led to the trade?

Russell Westbrook simply wanted out. Westbrook is the type of player that needs to be the number one ball handler and that simply wasn't ever going to happen on a James Harden led team. Other reports cited Westbrook's frustration with the lack of accountability and casual atmosphere within the locker room. Ultimately if anyone was going to be moved between Harden and Westbrook, it was always going to be Westbrook.

Why John Wall?

This one is another fairly straightforward answer: they both have relatively similar contracts. Each is making an absurdly overpriced $40 million this season, and both were disgruntled with their current team. Rockets General Manager Rafael Stone and Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard tossed the idea around a few weeks ago, but couldn't find a deal they liked. It was reported that discussions resumed Wednesday afternoon and within a few hours the deal was done in an almost one-for-one swap.

How does Wall fit?

This is a little more complicated because it's not exactly known what head coach Stephen Silas' game plan is. It's also difficult to predict whether or not Harden will still be on the roster when the season starts. But let's assume that Harden takes the court for the Rockets and that Silas' system resembles something similar to what we've seen in Houston for the past few years. In that case, Wall would be a slight upgrade to Westbrook. Westbrook is more athletic than Wall, but when healthy Wall was no slouch. In addition he's a much better defensive player and has much better court vision than Westbrook. Westbrook's assists were usually a bailout after attacking the lane with his head down, while Wall is more likely to set up a teammate.

This isn't to say that Wall doesn't need the ball though. He's fairly ball dominant, but not nearly as much as Westbrook. Harden proved last season that he's capable of effectively playing off the ball if necessary, so it seems like a better fit from a distribution rate alone. If they can find that sweet spot like they did with Chris Paul and stagger the lineups so that each star gets their own time to create, there's potential for an improved Rockets team more reminiscent of their 2018 run than the past two years.

What are the best and worst case scenarios?

The worst case is that the Rockets were sold a lemon. Wall has potential to be an upgrade, but comes with huge risk. He last took the court in 2018, where he was sidelined with a knee injury. He subsequently ruptured his Achilles in an accident at his home while recovering from the knee injury, forcing Wall off the court for almost two years. It's possible an extremely unfortunate Wall reinjures something and completely derails the machinations of the trade. Even if he's recovered fully, it will take time to get him up to game speed which could frustrate Harden on a team that can't afford a slow start in their stacked conference. Harden has managed to cultivate drama with just about every co-star he's played with, so there's no reason to assume this attempt would go any better.

The best case scenario is that Wall arrives ready to play team basketball and resembles the better part of his pre-injury form. Wall and Harden buy into Silas' new system, space the floor, and take turns carving up the lane with dribble drives and kick outs to players who can actually hit from distance. This version of the Rockets could potentially be a 3-seed in this year's Western Conference.

Who won the trade?

At the moment the Rockets. Not only did they remove at least one of their locker room distractions, but they also gain a first round pick. If Wall can stay healthy and Silas can keep both stars happy, this team should be a lot more fun to watch than last season's clunker.

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