Astros are now 15-11

Astros drop series opener to Padres, snap winning streak

Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

After taking care of business against the Rockies with a four-game sweep, the Astros started a three-game series against the Padres in San Diego on Friday. Both teams entered the weekend on winning streaks, with the Padres having won four straight and the Astros eight. Here is what happened when these two surging teams faced off:

Final Score: Padres 4, Astros 3.

Record: 15-11, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Javy Guerra (1-0, 11.17 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (2-2, 5.74 ERA).

Padres outscore Astros early

Houston wasted no time stringing some hits together, starting at the very beginning of the game. George Springer led things off with a double, followed by back-to-back singles by Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa to score Springer and take an early 1-0 lead. San Diego responded immediately, though, getting a double and an RBI-single with two outs to quickly tie the game 1-1.

After scoring in the first, the Astros loaded the bases, then did again in the second, but stranded all three runners both times, leaving six on base after two innings, wasting a chance to put up multiple runs early. That would allow the Padres to get a go-ahead in the fourth against Lance McCullers Jr., getting two on base on a walk and hit-by-pitch before a sac bunt would advance the runners, then a sacrifice fly would bring a run in, making it 2-1 Padres.

McCullers Jr. would allow a few more runs to San Diego; walking the leadoff batter in the fourth which would eventually score on a sacrifice fly later in the inning to make it 3-1, then giving up a leadoff double in the fifth before back-to-back RBI hits with two outs to make it 4-1. His final line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 0 HR.

Houston claws back, but Padres come out ahead

In the top of the sixth, Houston chipped away at San Diego's lead, getting back-to-back doubles by Taylor Jones and Myles Straw to bring in a run to make it 4-2. In the top of the seventh, Jose Altuve led off with a single, moved to second on a bad throw on the same play, moved to third on a groundout, then scored on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to make it a one-run game at 4-3.

Cy Sneed and Cionel Perez combined for a scoreless bottom of the sixth, followed by Andre Scrubb, who worked around a leadoff walk and two-out single for a scoreless frame of his own. The 4-3 score would be as close as the Astros would come as they would go down scoreless in the top of the eighth and the top of the ninth, snapping their eight-game winning streak and dropping the first game of this three-game series.

Up Next: The middle game of this series between Houston and San Diego will get underway at 8:10 PM on Saturday. The pitching matchup will be Zach Davies (3-2, 3.25 ERA) for the Padres going opposite Brandon Bielak (3-0, 1.69 ERA) for the Astros.

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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