Houston has won five in a row

Correa, Bielak lead Astros to win over Rockies, extend winning streak to five

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Riding a four-game winning streak and having won five of their last six, the Astros welcomed the 13-8 Rockies to Minute Maid Park on Monday. The two teams were set to face each other for four-straight games, with two in Houston then two in Denver. Here is a quick rundown of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rockies 1.

Record: 12-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-0, 1.69 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Kyle Freeland (2-1, 2.56 ERA).

Correa strikes first as Bielak goes six solid innings

Houston wasted no time getting on the board, getting an early rally started with two outs in the bottom of the first. With a runner already on base, Yuli Gurriel delivered a single to put runners on first and third, then Carlos Correa drove them in with a two-RBI double to give the Astros the quick 2-0 lead.

Trevor Story cut that lead in half in the top of the third, hammering a solo home run to make it 2-1. That would be the only hit Bielak allowed over his six innings of work, putting together another solid start to hold down a potent Rockies offense. His final line: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Houston's bullpen holds on to the one-run lead

Brooks Raley took over for Bielak to pitch the top of the seventh, maintaining the one-run lead with a 1-2-3 inning. The Astros threatened to add insurance runs in the bottom of the inning but would strand two runners to keep it a one-run game. Raley would face one more batter, getting a strikeout to start the top of the eighth before Dusty Baker brought in Josh James, who would finish the inning.

After another scoreless inning in the bottom of the eighth by the Astros, that sent the game to the ninth, where Blake Taylor would come on for the save opportunity. He would convert it, working around a leadoff single to extend Houston's winning streak to five games and keeping them in second place in the division.

Up Next: These two teams will play Tuesday at 2:10 PM Central in the afternoon to allow time after for their flights to Denver for the other half of this series. The starters for the game will be Zack Greinke (1-0, 2.53 ERA) for the Astros and Antonio Senzatela (3-0, 3.91 ERA) for the Rockies.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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