Houston has won three in a row

Starter-depleted Astros secure series with win over Indians

Jake Odorizzi had another solid start against the Indians on Saturday. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.
With a large portion of their starters out of the lineup for various reasons, the Astros turned to some of their less-experienced players to attempt to secure the series win against the Indians on Saturday. Thanks to a couple of RBIs by Carlos Correa, a solid start from Jake Odorizzi, and excellent work by Houston's bullpen, they would hold on to the win over Cleveland.

Final Score: Astros 3, Indians 2

Astros' Record: 51-33, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (3-3)

Losing Pitcher: Eli Morgan (1-3)

No lack of power for Houston

It didn't appear that the Astros were missing any of their power, with three runs in the first four innings to get a 3-0 lead. In the top of the first, they put two on base on two hits before an RBI single by Carlos Correa, then in the top of the fourth, Correa doubled the lead on a solo homer, then Abraham Toro followed one out later with a solo shot as well.

Odorizzi gets into the seventh in line for the win

Jake Odorizzi did great with the lead, getting off to a hot start by erasing a hit in the first, walk in the second, then posting a 1-2-3 third. He would allow an unearned run, thanks to a fielding error in the inning, in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI groundout, but rebounded from the one-run fourth with another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth, then faced the minimum in the sixth thanks to a double play.

He tried to keep going in the bottom of the seventh, but back-to-back leadoff doubles to cut the lead to one ended his night, with Ryne Stanek coming in to strand the inherited runner. That finalized Odorizzi's line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 91 P.

Astros secure the series

Houston had a chance to add some insurance runs in the top of the eighth, getting their first two runners on base then moving one to third with one out, but were unable to do anything with it. Cristian Javier was next out of Houston's bullpen in the bottom of the eighth, holding the one-run lead with a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts. After a scoreless top half, Ryan Pressly came in to try and close things out in the bottom of the ninth. He did so, notching his fourteenth save of the season to give Houston the series win with a chance for a four-game sweep in the finale.

Up Next: The fourth and final game of this series, and the last of a twenty-game stretch in twenty days for the Astros, will be a 12:10 PM Central start on Sunday. The expected pitching matchup is Zack Greinke (8-2, 3.65 ERA) for Houston and Cal Quantrill (0-2, 4.11 ERA) for Cleveland.

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The Coogs play Miami on Friday night. Photo by Alex Slitz/Getty Images.

Number one seed University of Houston is favored by 7.5 points over No. 5 Miami, and No. 2 University of Texas is favored by 4 over No. 3 Xavier Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Kansas City.

Talk about opening acts. If both UH and UT win, they’ll meet Sunday in a good ol’ WWE-style Texas death match for a berth in the Final Four at NRG Stadium in Houston. Thank you, Mr. Schedule Maker.

How much do you think Cougar fans would love for UH to get their hands on the Longhorns with so much at stake?

For one example, let’s go back to the future, Oct. 21, 2023, when Big 12 rivals UH and UT meet in football at TDECU Stadium on the Houston campus. The game already is a lock sellout with tickets in the upper deck commanding $141 per ticket on the secondary market. It will be UH’s first year in the big boy Big 12 and UT’s last go-around before heading to the SEC.

One last opportunity for lasting bragging rights.

That’s for a UH football game. At home. Where the Cougars typically have trouble packing half the house. For example, the Cougars will be hosting the Sam Houston Bearkats at TDECU Stadium a month earlier. Tickets for that game, the same exact seat going for $141 against UT, can be had right now … $17.

Yeah, there’s something special about UH getting the opportunity to face UT. In anything. Anywhere. And it’s been a long time since the two teams, once co-members of the Southwest Conference together, have met on the basketball court. A full decade, in fact. The last time they played was March 20, 2013 with the Cougars prevailing 73-72 in something called the College Basketball Invitational. The UH coach was James Dickey. UT was coached by Rick Barnes. Joe Young led the Cougars with 18 points. The Horns’ leading scorer was Julien Lewis with 28. UH finished that season with a 20-13 record. UT limped home at 16-18.

That was then, this is now. The UH-Miami game will air at 6:10 p.m. Friday on CBS with UH grad Jim Nantz calling the play-by-play. The game will alsO stream on Hulu +++. ESPN’s BPI (basketball power index) gives the Cougars a 90 percent chance of winning. We’ll take it.

The UT-Xavier game will follow at 8:45 p.m. on CBS. The Horns have a 70 percent chance of beating the Musketeers. If both chalks come through, they’ll meet Sunday afternoon with the game on CBS.

The Cougars have made six Final Four appearances: 1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984, 2021. The Horns have made three Final Fours, the last time two decades ago.

Here’s the only sure bet if UH and UT meet Sunday - get to your sports bar early if you want a seat. This could be memorable.

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