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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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

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With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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