Houston splits the series with Detroit

Astros fall to Tigers in extras in series finale

Houston's offense remained cold in Detroit to finish the series on Sunday. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With their winning streak snapped in the loss in the first half of a doubleheader the day before, the Astros tried to move their new one to two games by taking the finale and, therefore, the series victory with a win Sunday. The Tigers would continue to stifle Houston's offense, though, and would get the walk-off win over Houston in extras.

Final Score (10 innings): Tigers 2, Astros 1

Astros' Record: 48-30, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Gregory Soto (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (0-2)

Odorizzi goes five scoreless

There wasn't much going on for either offense as the afternoon rolled on. For Jake Odorizzi, he was able to hold Detroit scoreless over five frames, allowing just a walk in the second, a single in the third, and a single in the fifth, all of which he was able to strand. His final line: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 77 P.

He left in line for the win, despite the Astros only giving him one hit of support. It came in the top of the fourth when Tarik Skubal hit the leadoff batter before issuing two walks to load the bases. Carlos Correa brought in the first run of the day; a sac fly to put Houston in front 1-0.

Detroit ties it as game goes to extras

With Odorizzi making it through five, the Astros turned to long-reliever Cristian Javier to try and eat up some innings. He would work in and out of trouble, starting with two walks in the bottom of the sixth, which he erased, then issuing two more in the bottom of the seventh while getting two outs. That prompted Dusty Baker to move on to Brooks Raley to try and get out of the jam, but Raley instead gave up a game-tying RBI single before ending the frame.

Raley remained on the mound to start the bottom of the eighth but would face one batter, issuing a walk, before Baker moved on to Ryne Stanek. Stanek escaped unscathed, allowing a single to his first batter then retiring the next three in a row to strand both runners. Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Pressly came in and forced extra innings, posting a 1-2-3 inning.

Tigers get the walk-off in extras to split the series

Houston played small ball in the top of the tenth, getting a leadoff walk then a sac bunt by Jason Castro to put runners on second and third with one out, but did nothing with it as the next two batters would foul out and a groundout. Blake Taylor was the next reliever for Houston, coming in with a free runner on second trying to extend things another inning. Detroit would get the walk-off win, getting a groundout to move the runner to third, then an RBI bunt to win the game, with the Tigers and Astros splitting the four-game series.

Up Next: With this seven-game road trip complete, the Astros will continue this long stretch of games with three at home starting Monday at 7:10 PM Central with another series against the Orioles. Zack Greinke (8-2, 3.56 ERA) is slated to go up against Thomas Eshelman (0-1, 7.27 ERA) in the opener of the three-game set.

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The Marlins are showing interest in Yuli Gurriel. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

As the reporting date for pitchers and catchers draws near, there are still some decisions hanging over the Astros. One of them is whether or not to bring back Yuli Gurriel. “La Piña,” as he's affectionately called, is 38 years old. He turns 39 in June. His leadership and instincts cannot be matched. The man has seen a ton of baseball and comes from a family of baseballers. So, what's the holdup?

Enter the Miami Marlins. The ownership group, led by Bruce Sherman, is undoubtedly trying to capitalize on the heavy Cuban population in the Miami area. Bringing in the Cuban Babe Ruth is a great way to attempt to get more fan engagement. The franchise has only been to the playoffs three times. First two times (1997 and 2003), they won it all. In 2020, they were swept in the NLDS. They're most likely offering him a ridiculous amount of money to come to a team with a losing history. Knowing the Marlins are willing to hand out stupid money, would you blame La Piña for taking one last ridiculous payday?

Think about it. He's got two rings and made a ton of money. He can safely retire very comfortably. The lure to come back for another year or two would definitely be about money. The Marlins aren't a real threat in the next couple of seasons to do anything, but are willing to pay me like I'm still a star? Plus, I'm closer to my home country with all my family and friends? Sign me up!

This is where the Astros have to make a decision. Bring Yuli back for another year or move on. If he follows through with his last four years, this should be a bounce back year. Since 2016, his first year in Houston and MLB, he's hit .262, .299, .291, .298, .232 (pandemic shortened season), .319, and .242 last season. The man is a professional hitter. He knows how to work an at-bat and can drive pitchers nuts. His defense isn't bad either. He's a more than capable first baseman.

This won't win me any favor, but I think it's time to move on. Yuli will always have a place in my heart because he was a major factor in the Astros' two World Series wins. Last season's title run was even more satisfying since it helped silence the haters. That was the mouthwash that got rid of the stench of the sign stealing scandal. Piña was there through it all.

Now, it's time to start transitioning towards the future. Piña, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr were the only holdovers from the 2017 team. Verlander was one of the guys the Mets backed the Brinks truck up for this offseason. Altuve (32), Bregman (28), and McCullers (29) should be all that's left of that group. While it would've been great to have Verlander (39) back, the emergence of the youth movement in the pitching staff made his loss somewhat expendable. At some point, the nostalgia wears off. Father Time and Mother Nature are both undefeated. If they were to bring Piña back, he should be a part timer transitioning into a hitting coach. Careers come to an end. It's time to start looking at his exit.

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