Houston is now 10-10

Astros get back to .500 and secure series with win over Mariners

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After unloading on Seattle in the lopsided 11-1 win on Friday, the Astros tried to lock up the series and continue their success at the plate with a victory on Saturday. Here is a quick recap of the middle game of the three-game set:

Final Score: Astros 2, Mariners 1.

Record: 10-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (2-1, 2.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Nick Margevicius (0-1, 3.14 ERA).

Houston scores early as Javier goes six scoreless

After combining for ten runs in the first inning on Friday, both teams headed to the second still scoreless on Saturday, thanks in part by Cristian Javier striking out the side in order in the top of the inning. The middle of Houston's order went to work in the bottom of the second, getting a runner in scoring position via a Yordan Alvarez single who then moved to third on a double by Yuli Gurriel. Jose Altuve, who was moved down to seventh in the lineup, took advantage of the RBI opportunity with a groundout to put the Astros in front 1-0.

Gurriel would make another impact in the bottom of the fourth, hitting a two-out solo home run to straightaway center to double the lead, 2-0. That gave Javier a two-run cushion, and he hadn't allowed a hit yet in the game. Seattle would change that in the top of the fifth, getting their first hit and threatening to score, but Javier was able to work out of a jam to keep the Mariners off the board. He would last one more frame, getting the Mariners to go down 1-2-3 in the sixth. His final line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 0 HR.

Bullpen holds on for the win

Josh James entered to take over for Javier in the top of the seventh. Unlike his other appearances this year, James would get through this one without allowing any runs. Brooks Raley was next out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth, and he would allow the first run of the night for the Mariners on a two-out solo home run to cut the lead in half at 2-1.

After threatening to add some insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth, Seattle would hold the Astros off, keeping it a one-run game going to the ninth. Ryan Pressly would enter to try and notch another save, and he would do so with a quick 1-2-3 inning. The victory put Houston back at .500 on the year and made it three straight wins.

Up Next: The finale of this series between the Astros and Mariners will get underway at 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston after a gem in his last start, while Justus Sheffield (1-2, 5.27 ERA) will start for Seattle.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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