Houston's bats power up again

Astros pound Rangers to win fourth straight game

Kyle Tucker's hot streak continued Friday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After taking the first game of this series in wild fashion in extras the night prior, the Astros tried to get their fourth straight win on Friday night at home against the Rangers. They would get a nice start from Zack Greinke, but Houston's offense was the star of the show again, powering past Texas.

Final Score: Astros 10, Rangers 4

Astros' Record: 22-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-1)

Losing Pitcher: Wes Benjamin (0-2)

Houston puts up double digits

The Astros were able to jump out to a large lead Friday night and never looked back. It started with a three-run second, with RBI singles by Kyle Tucker and Myles Straw and a sac fly by Michael Brantley. Tucker started the scoring in another multi-run inning in the bottom of the third, getting his second RBI single in as many innings, leaving the bases loaded.

Straw followed with an RBI walk, as did Martin Maldonado next, before a fourth run in the frame would score on a double play, putting Houston at seven runs. After a scoreless fourth, Straw would get another RBI in the bottom of the fifth on a single, then Maldonado made it double digits with a two-run homer.

Greinke rebounds from recent struggles

After three straight disappointing starts where he lasted just four innings while allowing multiple runs, Zack Greinke would get back on track in this start. He allowed a run in the top of the third, another in the top of the fourth, then a final one in the top of the seventh, but would otherwise navigate his way to a quality start and his third win of the season by lasting seven innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR, 103 P.

Astros extend winning streak to four games

Kent Emanuel was first out of the Houston bullpen, taking over for Greinke in the top of the eighth. He allowed a two-out solo home run to make it a 10-4 game, retiring the other three batters he faced. Joe Smith entered to finish things off in the ninth, extending Houston's winning streak to four games.

Up Next: The third of this four-game set will be an hour earlier on Saturday, starting at 6:10 PM Central. Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.60 ERA) will try to get his first win of the season and help Houston win this series, while Dane Dunning (2-2, 3.78 ERA) will go for the Rangers.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Keep an eye on Alex Bowman this weekend. Image via: Wiki Commons.

For the first time since July 1984, NASCAR returns to one of its most popular cities in Nashville, Tennessee for the inaugural Ally 400 at Nashville Super Speedway. This track is a 1 1/3rd mile concrete oval that was dormant for nearly ten years and was only used as a testing facility. So it came as a bit of a surprise last season when it was announced that this track would be getting a date. For a lot of drivers, this will be a brand new racetrack, but we will see practice and qualifying, so that will be a huge help for the newcomers that haven't raced here before. Back when the Xfinity and Trucks ran here, this track featured a lot of first time winners. Back in 2008, future NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski shocked the world by jumping in Dale Jr's car and capturing his first win here. There will be a lot of veterans like Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have plenty of experience at this track, but it will be tough to compare. It should be fun with everyone coming into this race with minimal knowledge.

Last week, Kyle Larson continued his hot streak by winning the All-Star Race. Overall, while Larson and his Hendrick teammates probably enjoyed the race, the feedback from crews and fans was less than positive. As I was walking through the garage area and talking to a few crew members, a lot of them were very critical of the 450 horsepower motor and the tall spoiler to try and keep the cars bunched up. When I asked one of the crew-members what he thought about the package he told me, "Oh it's awful. The track is terrible, the package makes it impossible to pass and it's super hot out here." On green flag runs, it was the same as it ever was as the lead car would pretty much take off and the only time there was really any "pack racing" it came after there were restarts. The whole race was well-intentioned and the fans showed up as it was nearly a capacity crowd, but the whole thing just didn't make any sense. From the start time being in the nearly 100 degree heat to the wacky full-field invert at the end of each stage. Let's hope that next season's All-Star Race is a lot more concise.

In Silly Season news this week, Truck Series regulars GMS racing announced that they would be fielding a full-time cup series team. The team is currently owned by Allegiant Airlines CEO Maurice Gallagher and his son, Spencer, who used to drive for them in the Xfinity Series. This move seemed to come from out of nowhere as there was never any indication that this was a move they were exploring anytime soon after they turned down the opportunity to purchase Furniture Row Racing in 2019. This is certainly a great sight for the sport as there will be more new teams on the track and with their close relationship with Chevy, it wouldn't be a surprise if they step in and help this team become competitive. The favorite to drive their car has to be 2020 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed. He has easily been their best driver in trucks, and it would make the most sense for him to get the promotion.

This week at Nashville, the driver that I have winning is Alex Bowman. Now while this is a brand new racetrack and he has a grand total of zero starts here, this track suits his driving style perfectly. With the inclusion of this track, there are now four tracks with a concrete surface. Nashville, Bristol, Dover and Martinsville. At the three of the tracks they have run at, he has shown a lot of speed, including a victory at Dover this season and a top ten finish at Bristol. This is also a track where crew-chief Greg Ives said Bowman has gravitated towards during testing. In an interview with Sirius XM Ives was quoted as saying "we used to have a lot of fun testing there," so this is clearly a track that they both enjoy going to. Another big factor going into Sunday will be just how fast these Hendrick Motorsports cars are, they have finished 1-2 over the last four points races. He has watched his teammates Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott have immense success, and now this week I think he is due for a third win of the season. Look for the bright purple #48 Chevy to go to victory lane this week at Nashville.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome