Houston takes two of three

Astros grab series victory with win over Blue Jays in finale

Jose Altuve started Sunday's finale with a bang. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of the series, and Houston leading the six-game season series 3-2, the Astros and Blue Jays returned to Sahlen Field in Buffalo, New York, for a decisive final matchup. Houston would come out on top, building up a lead that Luis Garcia and his bullpen could hold on to for the victory.

Final Score: Astros 6, Blue Jays 3

Astros' Record: 33-26, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia (5-3)

Losing Pitcher: Steven Matz (6-3)

Houston builds up an early lead

Houston received an immediate lead in this one, courtesy of another leadoff home run by Jose Altuve to grab a 1-0 lead. Chas McCormick matched that to lead off the second inning, getting one of his own to double the lead. Toronto cut that in half in the bottom of the second against Luis Garcia, getting runners to second and third to set up a sac fly by Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to make it 2-1.

Houston responded in the top of the next inning, loading the bases for Kyle Tucker, who delivered a two-RBI single to grow Houston's lead to 4-1. That score held until the top of the seventh when Houston would take advantage of some defensive miscues by Toronto to load the bases. Martin Maldanado grounded into what should have been an inning-ending play but instead beat out a throw after an error to make it a 5-1 Houston lead, though they could have had more.

Garcia stays hot on the mound

Luis Garcia allowed just that one run in his six innings of work, stranding runners in scoring position in the third and fourth before sitting down the last seven batters he faced in order, four of them on strikeouts. It ended up being another excellent day for him on the mound, where if not for the four-run lead, he may have kept going for more. His final line: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 79 P.

Astros take the series

Brooks Raley took over out of Houston's bullpen with the four-run lead in the bottom of the seventh. He kept it there, tossing a 1-2-3 frame with a strikeout to move the game to the eighth. Alex Bregman scalded a one-out double in the top of the inning, getting into scoring position for a two-out RBI single by Yuli Gurriel to grow the lead to five runs. Raley would face one more batter, getting the first out of the bottom of the eighth.

Ryne Stanek tried to take over and finish the inning from there but created his own trouble by loading the bases on a hit batter, single, and a walk. Houston ceded a run in favor of an out on a groundout, but Toronto would bring in another on a two-out RBI single, making it a 6-3 game before Stanek would get the final out. After a scoreless top of the inning, Ryan Pressly notched the save to finish off the win in the bottom of the ninth.

Up Next: Houston will get a day off on Monday before resuming this road trip on Tuesday in Boston against the Red Sox. The first of that three-game set will start at 6:10 PM Central on Tuesday, with Framber Valdez (1-0, 1.64 ERA) for the Astros expected to go up against Martin Perez (4-2, 3.09 ERA) for the Red Sox.

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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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