Here's how the Astros put together an impressive 6-game winning streak

What a week for Houston! Composite image by Jack Brame.

After sweeping the Rangers in a four game series, The Astros have secured their longest winning streak of the season.

Houston has won 6 consecutive games and have earned wins in 9 of their last 11 contests.

Their recent success has come on the heels of stellar hitting performances by the top 5 hitters in their lineup and a recent resurgence in power from one outfielder as well.

The Astros ended last week winning 2 of 3 against the Toronto Blue Jays and looked to face off against their division rivals the Los Angeles Angels for a three-game series.

Monday's game with the Halos was the worst game of the week, as the Astros took their lone loss of the series.

Houston did not have an answer for Jared Walsh as he connected on a solo home run and matched a career high with four hits to lead the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Astros.

Tuesday night's game proved to be a very anticipated matchup as it showcased Lance McCullers vs. Shohei Ohtani.

Both pitchers gave strong performances on the mound and combined for 19 strikeouts.

Neither Ohtani nor McCullers qualified for the win, as both pitchers gave up solo shots and left the game at 1-1.

Once Ohtani left the game, the Astros were able to take advantage of the Angels bullpen to win the contest.

Outfielder Michael Brantley hit an RBI single to score Jose Altuve and send Aledmys Díaz to third. Thus giving the Astros their first lead of the game 2-1.

Yordan Alvarez grounded into a fielder's choice which put Brantley at third and Diaz was thrown out at home.

This set up one of the Astros' hottest hitters Yuli Gurriel. He took Angels' pitcher Alex Claudio deep to secure the Astros a 5-1 victory.

The rubber match of the series proved to be the best game for the Astros' bats as they blasted a season-high five home runs.

Altuve and Gurriel both homered in the first inning to give the Astros a quick 3-0 lead.

Houston starter José Urquidy allowed two hits and struck out four in 3 2/3 innings before leaving with posterior shoulder discomfort.

Brandon Bielak picked up where Urquidy left off and threw a season-high 3 1/3 innings in relief and gave up just one run.

Kyle Tucker added a little bit of insurance as he hit a two-run shot in the 6th inning to give the Astros a 5-0 lead.

Yordon Alvarez and rookie Chas McCormick both hit homers in the bottom of the 8th to give the Astros a 9-1 victory.

"Guys are getting good pitches to hit and keeping pitchers in the stretch," Astros manager Dusty Baker said. "Hitting's contagious and just keep them coming."

After winning two consecutive series in a row, the Astros looked to continue this momentum against their in-state rivals, the Texas Rangers.

Thursday's game was a nail-biter as it took extra innings for Houston to come away victorious.

Texas took an early 2-0 lead before Jose Altuve hit a three-run double to put the Astros on top 3-2.

Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo tied the game at 3 with an RBI groundout in the 3rd inning. The game remained tied going into extra innings.

In the bottom of the 10th the Astros loaded the bases but were unable to score a run.

A similar situation happened in the bottom of the 11th as Chas McCormick came to the plate with all three ducks on the pond.

He was facing Brett Martin, when a 1-2 pitch got away from the catcher Jose Trevino. The passed ball led to Myles Straw scoring from third base to win the game.

"I was ready, especially with two strikes there," Straw said. "I had a feeling they would bounce a breaking ball, so I stayed ready and sure enough, I saw it kind of get away a little bit. I was going to be overaggressive there with two strikes. Even if it was a little bit closer than that, I was probably going to go."

The second game of the series took place Friday night and was the best game for two Astros players in quite some time.

Catcher Martin Maldonado hit a homer and drove in three runs to help the Astros win 10-4, their best offensive output of the week.

Pitcher Zack Greinke had one of his best games of the season as he threw seven innings, gave up three runs and received his 3rd win of the season.

Game number three on Saturday was much closer, as Texas put up their best fight of the series.

The Astros got off to a quick start against Texas pitcher Dane Dunning. They scored four runs capped off by a Carlos Correa two-run homer to give Houston a 4-1 lead.

Kyle Tucker continued his torrid home run pace as he hit a two-run shot to give the Astros a 6-1 lead.

Tucker has now tied his career high for homers in a season at 9 and leads the team in this category as well.

The Rangers almost made a comeback behind an 8th inning three-run homer by Joey Gallo and Andy Ibanez driving in an additional run to cut the deficit to one at 6-5.

This would be as far as Texas would get, as Ryan Pressly earned his 7th save of the year in the top of the 9th inning to secure an Astros victory.

Houston looked for their 2nd four-game sweep of the season (their first being in Oakland to start the year).

Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa drove in the first two runs of the game to give the Astros a 2-0 lead.

Lance McCullers took the mound and threw six scoreless innings.

This is his 5th consecutive game in which McCullers has thrown more than five innings in a start.

Andre Scrubb came into the game after McCullers and gave up a two-run homer to Rangers outfielder David Dahl to tie the game 2-2.

Shortly after, the Astros took the lead in the bottom of the 8th behind a sacrifice fly from Gurriel and singles from both Chas McCormick and Myles Straw to give the Astros a 6-2 lead.

Enoli Paredes made his return from the injured list to close out the game.

The Astros have now won six games in a row and four Astros players are hitting over .300 six weeks into the season. (Altuve, Alvarez, Bregman and Gurriel).

Kyle Tucker has increased his batting average from .192 on Monday to .225 by Sunday.

UP NEXT: The Astros look to continue their winning ways as they start a six-game road trip Tuesday, May 18th against the Oakland A's for three games then three games in Arlington against the Texas Rangers.

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Play ball! Composite image by Jack Brame.

Nothing puts an exclamation point on the arrival of spring like baseball’s Opening Day.

“Beat the drum and hold the phone, the sun came out today, we’re born again, there’s new grass on the field” – John Fogerty, rock ‘n’ roller in Centerfield.

“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring” – Baseball Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby.

“Opening Day. All you have to do is say the words and you feel the shutters thrown wide, the room air out, the light pour in. In baseball, no other day is so pure with possibilities” – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mary Schmich.

"Spring! Rejuvenation, rebirth, everything’s blooming, all that crap” – Pretend latex salesman George Costanza.

The Houston Astros, born 1962, will play their 62nd Opening Day game at 6:08 p.m. Thursday against the Chicago White Sox at Minute Maid Park. Megan Thee Stallion will throw out the ceremonial first pitch, Mark Wahlberg will holler “play ball” and the Astros will begin the defense of their 2022 World Series title. The national anthem will be performed by Cody Johnson.

There will be a pre-game street festival outside the stadium from 3-6 p.m. There will be live music, (oh no) face painting and photo booths, corn hole and, of course, beer and food glorious food. You’ll need a ticket to the game to get inside the street fest gates, however. The game officially is sold out, but literally thousands of tickets are available, at a marked-up price, on secondary market sites. It’s the new economy, that ain’t so new anymore.

The Astros are riding an MLB record 10 consecutive Opening Day wins. Astros starters have an incredible 1.20 earned run average during the streak. Both Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander started three Opening Day games during the stretch, all Astros victories. Framber Valdez will be on the bump for the Astros in their 2023 opener. He started and won last year’s opener, 3-1, outdueling Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani. The way the Astros stick with Opening Day pitchers, this could be the start of things to come for Valdez.

Roy Oswalt had the most Opening Day starts, eight in a row between 2003-10. Shane Reynolds started five Opening Day games in a row from 1996-2000. Mike Scott started five openers in a row from 1987-91. J.R. Richard started five in a row from 1976-80.

Bobby Shantz started the first Astros (then the Colt .45s) opener in 1962, a complete game 11-2 win over the Cubs at Colt Stadium.

Down through the ages, the Astros franchise has a 33-28 record on Opening Day. The team with the most successful Opening Day record is the New York Mets, 40-21, for a .656 winning percentage.

After 61 seasons, the Astros-Colt .45s finally pushed their all-time won-loss record over the .500 mark last season. By winning 106 regular-season games and going 11-2 in the postseason, the Astros now have an all-time mark of 4,831 wins and 4,820 losses.

This year, for the first time in baseball’s modern era, every team will play every other team during the regular season. While the Astros won’t be meeting (beating) their traditional American League West rivals like the Angels and Rangers 19 times each, they’ll make up for it by playing National League patsies Pirates, Rockies, Marlins, Reds and Nationals.

All 30 teams will open their season on Thursday. All 30 teams also will be in action on Jackie Robinson Day on April 15. They’ll do the same on Roberto Clemente Day on Sept. 15.

While MLB is making changes like the new schedule, bigger bases, pitch clock and no shift, maybe it’s time to put a different name on spring training. Spring? Teams arrive in Florida and Arizona in early February, the dead of winter, and they’re practically breaking camp on March 21, the first day of spring. I guess “winter training” is too gloomy an image, though.

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