Houston finally comes through with a big offseason move

Astros land outfielder Michael Brantley to two-year deal

The move helps reinforce the offensive power of Houston's outfield. Jason Miller/Getty Images

While many Astros fans wait for the acquisition of a star catcher or starting pitcher, the Astros instead made their first big splash of the 2018-19 offseason by signing free agent outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year deal.

Brantley entered free agency at the end of the 2018 season, ending his tenure with the Cleveland Indians where he has spent his entire major league career to this point, dating back to his debut in 2009. Brantley is a three-time all-star, making the American League All-Star roster in 2014, 2017, and 2018, and sits with a career .295 batting average. He was also awarded a silver slugger award in 2014, a year he also finished third in AL MVP voting.

Brantley made a nice comeback in 2018, having one of his best seasons after two injury-shortened campaigns in 2016 and 2017. Brantley finished 2018 with an AL fifth-best average at .309 and drove in 76 runs. He has the upside of bringing a lot of consistency to a spot in the lineup, helping an already potent offense convert even more runs.

With most of his play in left field, it's unclear what this signing could mean for the future of Josh Reddick, who is allegedly on the trading block, but in any case it was a good free agent pickup for Houston and at the worst provides some depth in the outfield, which was sorely needed.

Astros take another from the Tigers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 6-3 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

After holding on to win the series opener by one run in a game expected to be more lopsided, the Astros were back on the field Tuesday night to try and keep their newly-created winning streak going. Here is a recap of the second game of this four-game series:

Final Score: Astros 6, Tigers 3.

Record: 81-46, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brad Peacock (7-6, 4.05 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Spencer Turnbull (3-12, 4.05 ERA).

1) Both teams trade early blows

The Tigers were able to strike first, getting a leadoff home run to start the game against Aaron Sanchez and take an immediate 1-0 lead. Sanchez was able to get through the rest of the inning; then his offense backed him up with five runs over the next two.

George Springer hit a leadoff home run of his own, getting a solo dinger in the bottom of the first before Jose Altuve made it back-to-back jacks in the next at-bat to take a 2-1 lead. Then, in the bottom of the second, Houston tacked on three more runs after Altuve hit a perfectly placed dribbler down the third-base line for an RBI-single then Michael Brantley hit a two-RBI single, extending the lead to 5-1.

Detroit didn't go away, though, putting it to Sanchez in the top of the third by loading the bases with no outs before Sanchez would walk a run home. He would get one more out before A.J. Hinch popped out of the dugout to end his night early and bring in Brad Peacock, making his first appearance since returning from the injured list. Peacock seceded one run on a groundout then got a strikeout to end the inning with Houston still in front 5-3.

2) Astros extend their lead and cruise to third straight win

Collin McHugh was next out of Houston's bullpen to throw in the top of the fifth and worked around a leadoff single to Miguel Cabrera to retire the next three batters. In the bottom of the inning, Martin Maldonado extended Houston's lead to 6-3 with a one-out solo home run.

McHugh returned for the top of the sixth and was able to record another scoreless frame to strand two runners after a couple of singles in the inning. Joe Smith was the next reliever for Houston and put together a quick inning of his own to maintain the three-run lead.
Ryan Pressly took over in the top of the eighth and was able to strand a one-out single by getting back-to-back strikeouts to end the top of the inning. That provided Roberto Osuna with another save opportunity, and he would earn it to close out Houston's third-straight win.

Up Next: This series will continue with game three of four on Wednesday night scheduled for another 7:10 PM start. Justin Verlander (15-4, 2.81 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston against his former team, going up against Daniel Norris (3-10, 4.82 ERA) for Detroit.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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