Houston is now 2-1

Greinke exits early, Mariners rally late as Astros pick up first loss

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With two games behind them, the Astros brought their AL-best 2-0 record into Sunday's matchup with the Mariners in game three of the four-game series. Here is a quick recap of game three of four in this series:

Final Score: Mariners 7, Astros 6.

Record: 2-1, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Dan Altavilla (1-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Chris Devenski (0-1, 13.50 ERA).

Greinke makes an early exit as Mariners jump ahead

Zack Greinke did not have the first appearance of 2020 he would have hoped. In the top of the first, he allowed three-straight two-out hits, nearly four if not for a great catch by George Springer, including an RBI-double by Kyle Seager and an RBI-single by Evan White to put the Mariners ahead 2-0 before Houston could get to the plate.

Jose Altuve walked in the bottom of the first, then would score on a long double by Alex Bregman to get one of the runs back and make it 2-1. After a quick 1-2-3 second inning for Greinke, he would walk two in a scoreless third. A one-out double in the fourth would prompt a move to the bullpen after 58 pitches with Dusty Baker either already having a low pitch count in mind, or not liking the volatility with his command.

Joe Biagini took over on the mound in the fourth, but would not get through the inning before allowing Greinke's third run and one of his own to extend Seattle's lead to 4-1. Greinke's final line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 K.

Houston bails him out with four-run fourth

Houston went to work against Yusei Kikuchi to claw back into it in the bottom of the fourth. They loaded the bases with no outs after two walks and a single, setting up an RBI-single by Yuli Gurriel to trim the deficit to 4-2. Kikuchi battled back to get the next two batters to strike out, but Josh Reddick would work a four-pitch walk to cut the lead to one run.

That brought Martin Maldonado to the plate, who already had big hits in each of the series's first two games. He would continue that streak, coming through with a two-RBI single to give Houston their first lead of the day at 5-4 and end Kikuchi's day.

Mariners rally to tie then go-ahead in eighth

Bryan Abreu was next out of the bullpen for the top of the fifth, and despite hitting two batters and walking another to load the bases, he was able to get through the inning with the one-run lead intact. He returned for the sixth, but after two quick outs would issue a two-out walk, prompting another call to the bullpen, this time for Blake Taylor, who would get a strikeout to end the frame.

After Josh Reddick would be left stranded on third after a leadoff triple in the bottom of the sixth, Taylor would return to the mound for a 1-2-3 seventh. Chris Devenski started the eighth but put a couple of Mariners on base to set up a tying RBI-single to tie the game up at 5-5, then later a two-RBI single to give Seattle a 7-5 lead. Michael Brantley would get Houston within a run with an RBI-double in the ninth, but the Mariners would hold on for the win.

Up Next: The finale of this four-game series between the Astros and Mariners will get underway at 6:10 PM on Monday. Josh James, who has primarily worked as a reliever out of the bullpen, will assume his role as the current fourth spot in Houston's rotation, while Seattle will send Kendall Graveman to the mound.

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After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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