Houston now heads out on the road

Astros outscore Rangers to take the series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this three-game set with the Rangers, the Astros were on the field Thursday afternoon trying to end their homestand with a series win by taking the rubber game against Texas. Here is how they fared:

Final Score: Astros 8, Rangers 4.

Record: 21-15, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-0, 2.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.67 ERA).

Another hot start for the Astros

As they have done many times this year, the Astros put together a hot start to a game by putting up multiple runs in the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, the first three batters all reached base on aggressive early swings, the third bringing in a run on an RBI-single by Michael Brantley. With two runners still on base, Aledmys Diaz would get his season's biggest hit so far, a three-run homer to make it a 4-0 Houston lead.

Greinke throws a quality start 

The Rangers were able to chip away some at the lead against Zack Greinke, getting hits and runs off of him in the second, fourth, and sixth innings sandwiched between quick innings in the first, third, and fifth. Still, he recorded another quality start by finishing six innings and left in line for the win by holding on to the lead given to him by his offense. Greinke's final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 104 P.

Meanwhile, the Astros were able to tack on more runs to their total on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the fifth and a solo home run by Martin Maldonado in the sixth, making it a 6-3 game after six frames. Cy Sneed took over on the mound for Greinke to start the seventh, and after a quick 1-2-3 inning, would return for the eighth. The Rangers would make it a two-run game against him, getting a one-out solo home run to make it 6-4.

Houston takes the series to end the homestand

Sneed would retire one more batter, then Cionel Perez entered and erased a walk and a single to get the last out of the inning. Houston was able to push the lead back to four runs in the bottom of the eighth, getting two on base to set up Michael Brantley for two more RBI in this series on a two-run double, making it 8-4. In the non-save situation, Blake Taylor took over on the mound for the top of the ninth and recorded the last three outs to wrap up the win, giving the Astros the series victory.

Up Next: With this homestand complete, Houston will now take to the road to play eleven games over the next nine days, including two doubleheaders. The road trip starts Friday at 8:10 PM Central in Los Angeles with Lance McCullers Jr. (3-2, 5.06 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite of Dylan Bundy (4-2, 2.47 ERA) for the Angels.

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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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