Houston snaps losing streak

Astros split doubleheader with A's to end six-game skid

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Currently suffering a five-game losing streak, the Astros needed a strong showing on Tuesday with a doubleheader against the division-leading A's to try and right their ship. One positive to start the day was that they had Alex Bregman back in the lineup. Here is how the two games unfolded:

Game 1

Final Score (7 innings): A's 4, Astros 2.

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

Winning pitcher: Frankie Montas (3-3, 5.73 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-1, 3.27 ERA).

Greinke give up four runs in his first loss of 2020

Zack Greinke looked sharp in the first two innings of the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, retiring the first six batters he faced. His night would turn in the top of the third when Khris Davis would launch a solo home run to start the inning before an RBI-single later in the same frame made it a 2-0 Oakland lead.

Greinke had a clean fourth and worked around a leadoff double in the fifth, but would allow two more runs in the top of the sixth, giving him four earned runs, the most he's allowed in a start this season. That would earn him his first loss of 2020. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 92 P.

Brantley's home run not enough

While the Astros would get hits in six of the seven innings of the game, they would be far enough between to keep them from putting anything together. Their lone offensive highlight was a game-tying two-run home run by Michael Brantley in the bottom of the fifth, scoring George Springer, who reached on a single earlier in the inning.

The A's would get those two runs back in the very next inning, and Houston would be unable to do any more damage, handing Oakland another win and another game in the division. The loss extended the losing streak to 6 games and moved them to .500 on the year and 5.5 games back in the division.

Game 2

Final Score (7 innings): Astros 5, A's 4.

Record: 22-21, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Enoli Paredes (2-2, 3.45 ERA).

Losing pitcher: J.B. Wendelken (1-1, 1.45 ERA).

Teams trade four-run innings

Houston turned to Chase De Jong to start their bullpen day in game two of the doubleheader. After two impressive innings, the A's would figure him out in the third, scoring four runs on four hits, including a sacrifice fly and three-run home run by Matt Olson, grabbing an early 4-0 lead.

Luckily for Houston, the A's would hand them a gift in the top of the fourth. After back-to-back singles to start the inning, Kyle Tucker worked a walk to load the bases. Carlos Correa would earn an RBI the hard way after being hit by a pitch to bring in the first run, then Oakland would walk in two more before a game-tying infield single by George Springer to make it a 4-4 game.

Houston wins game two to end their six-game skid

Brad Peacock entered the game in the bottom of the fourth and would face three batters, getting two outs while allowing a ground-rule double before Brooks Raley would come in to finish the inning with the third out. Raley would return for a 1-2-3 fifth before retiring one more batter to start the bottom of the sixth. Enoli Paredes was next out of Houston's bullpen, and despite loading the bases, he would get out of the jam to keep it knotted up 4-4.

Houston would grab their first lead of the night in the top of the seventh. They loaded the bases with no outs after an error, walk, and single, setting up an RBI-sac fly by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4. Oakland would limit the damage there, though, sending the one-run game to the bottom of the seventh. That meant a save opportunity for Ryan Pressly. He would convert it, retiring Oakland 1-2-3, ending Houston's six-game skid and splitting the doubleheader to move back up one game in the division standings.

Up Next: This five-game series rolls on Wednesday with game four at 8:10 PM Central. Luis Garcia (0-0, 2.08 ERA), who impressed in his major-league debut last week, will get the nod as Houston's starter while Oakland will send Jesus Luzardo (2-2, 4.23 ERA) to the mound.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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