Houston is on a rough losing streak

Astros trounced by Kershaw and Dodgers in series opener

The Astros couldn't keep up with Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers Tuesday night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

After a disappointing series in Arlington, where they were swept over three games, the Astros returned to a full-capacity Minute Maid Park to start a new homestand. First up was a two-game set with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who would get the better of Houston and Zack Greinke to take the opener.

Final Score: Dodgers 9, Astros 2

Astros' Record: 26-22, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw (7-3)

Losing Pitcher: Zack Greinke (4-2)

Greinke loses the exciting pitching battle with Kershaw

The game's first three innings lived up to the high expectation of a pitching matchup between Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw. Both starters retired the opposing lineup in order the first time, leaving all zeroes on the scoreboard after three innings. A leadoff walk to Mookie Betts by Greinke in the top of the fourth proved costly, as Justin Turner would follow with the first hit of the game, a two-run homer to put the Dodgers in front 2-0.

Houston would get their first knock in the bottom of the inning but would otherwise continue to struggle against Kershaw while bringing no runs across. Greinke rebounded from the two-run fourth with a 1-2-3 fifth but would then unravel in the sixth. After two outs, he would load the bases on a single and two walks, then giving up a two-RBI single to Chris Taylor, extending LA's lead to 4-0. He would finish that inning but go no further. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 88 P.

Houston's bullpen struggles continue as Dodgers trounce the Astros

Joe Smith was the first reliever to take the mound and allowed a leadoff single, which would come around to score and make it a 5-0 game after another single and a wild pitch. Alex Bregman would finally get the Astros on the board and give Kershaw his first blemish of the day, launching a leadoff solo homer to start the bottom of the seventh.

After getting the last out of the seventh, Enoli Paredes continued on the mound in the top of the eighth, getting two outs while loading the bases on a single, a walk, and a hit batter, prompting a pitching change to bring in Kent Emanuel. Emanuel would face just one batter, allowing a four-pitch walk before his low velocity would prompt trainers out, ultimately removing him from the game. Andre Scrubb would enter quickly, but he too would struggle, issuing two more bases-loaded walks to make it 8-1 before getting the third out to end the suffering.

Scrubb returned to try and eat up the top of the ninth but would again struggle, loading the bases on two walks and a single before allowing another run to make it 9-1 before getting out of it. Houston would salvage a run in the bottom of the ninth on an error, but it would make no difference as the Astros would lose their fourth straight game.

Up Next: The second game of this quick two-game set will be slightly earlier on Wednesday, with a start time of 6:40 PM Central. Luis Garcia (2-3, 3.38 ERA) will start for the Astros, while Trevor Bauer (5-2, 1.98 ERA) will go for the Dodgers.

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Luis Garcia played his part in a pitcher's duel with Carlos Rodon on Friday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With an impressive offensive onslaught to overpower Chicago in game one of this series, the Astros entered this second of four games hoping to keep their momentum going. After an impressive pitcher's duel left the game tied late into the game, Houston would edge out the win with a big walk-off in the ninth.

Final Score: Astros 2, White Sox 1

Astros' Record: 41-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryan Pressly (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Garrett Crochet (2-3)

Garcia matches Rodon in a pitcher's duel

Both starting pitchers were very effective, save one inning, in their respective seven innings of work. For Luis Garcia, he had his struggles in the top of the first to start the game, allowing a one-out double and single to put runners on second and third, setting up an RBI single to give Chicago an early 1-0 lead.

He limited the damage to that one run, both in that inning and the rest of his night, as he would follow that with six straight scoreless frames. Once he found his groove in the fourth, he would retire 12 of 13 batters he faced over that span to get through seven one-run innings. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 96 P.

For Houston, it took until one out into the fifth inning to get a hit and their first baserunner against Carlos Rodon. That sparked an opportunity to grab a lead, as they would go on to load the bases still with one out but would get just one run out of it with a two-out RBI walk by Martin Maldonado to tie the game up 1-1.

Astros walk it off in the ninth

Ryne Stanek was first out of Houston's bullpen in the top of the eighth, erasing a one-out walk for a scoreless inning to keep things gridlocked. Still in a stalemate in the top of the ninth, the Astros opted to bring in closer Ryan Pressly to try and keep it tied to set up a potential walk-off. He was perfect, striking out Chicago 1-2-3 to send it to the home half.

In the bottom of the ninth, Yuli Gurriel got the winning run on base by hitting a one-out single. That brought Yordan Alvarez to the plate, who got the walk-off hit, roping a ball into the right-field corner deep enough for Gurriel to hustle from first to home to win it for Houston, 2-1.

Up Next: Now having won five in a row, the Astros will try to lock up this series in game three of four on Saturday at 6:15 PM Central. Lance Lynn (7-2, 1.51 ERA) will try to get a win for the White Sox, while Framber Valdez (3-0, 1.42 ERA) will look to continue his 2021 success for Houston.

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