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.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome