A REAL HOMER

George Springer and Astros stars roll out lively bowling bash for local kids

Photo by Kim Padgett

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

The 5th George Springer All-Star Bowling Benefit raised more than $250,000 on the evening of June 27, with the proceeds going toward sending economically disadvantaged kids who stutter to the SAY summer camp (SAY stands for the Stuttering Association for the Young). As most Astros fans know, our American League starting All-Star slugger grew up stuttering and now is the SAY national spokesman.

The annual event at Bowlmor on Bunker Hill Road drew an array of local celebrities like Channel 11 anchor Ron Trevino, Channel 2 sports anchor Lainie Fritz, and Houston Dynamo legend Brian Ching. After some poignant speeches by remarkable kids (including one with a show-stopping singing voice), Houstonians bowled for a good cause. (I was an honorary lane captain.) Complimentary refreshments included pizza, pigs in a blanket, and fried mozzarella sticks.

Many of the Astros came to lend their support to Springer's effort — think José Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Lance McCullers Jr. — and throw a few bowling balls into the gutter. (Stick to your day and night jobs, guys.)

I pulled pitcher Collin McHugh aside (in between sets) for a few fast, hard-hitting questions:

CultureMap: When I watch the games on TV and they show the dugout, there’s always five landline phones on the dugout wall. I figure one is to call the bullpen, and one is to call the Psychic Hotline. Where do you think the other three phones go?

Collin McHugh: One is to call Aramark to have some food sent down to the dugout. One is to call into the clubhouse to see who's taking a nap. And the other is to call Uber to get me home.

CM: Who controls the music in the Astros clubhouse?

CMcH: Definitely George Springer! He's the team deejay. He has eclectic taste. My personal favorite is Sunday Funday. We get a lot of Earth, Wind & Fire, which is great by me.

CM: How do you kill time in the clubhouse during a rain delay?

CMcH: I like to watch guys play cards. I know it sounds weird, but we've got some really competitive guys, so things get pretty intense. They don't play poker, it's usually something like spades or hearts, old school games. Will Harris and Wade Miley are the most intense, tough duo.

Continue reading on CultureMap to find out if Collin McHugh likes the rule that baseball managers have to wear a uniform.


Astros win another against the Rangers

Astros daily report presented by APG&E: 2 hits from the 4-1 win

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Astros, after a day off on Monday, were back in action at home on Tuesday night for the two-game conclusion of the season series with the Rangers. At 98 wins, and with their magic number down to four, it was a timely night to get Carlos Correa back in the lineup and have Justin Verlander on the mound. Here is a quick recap of the game:

Final Score: Astros 4, Rangers 1.

Record: 99-53, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Justin Verlander (19-6, 2.50 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (14-11, 3.77 ERA).

1) Verlander goes six scoreless

It was a stout pitching matchup early in Tuesday's game, with both Justin Verlander and Lance Lynn tossing scoreless frames through the first half of the game. Verlander would win the battle, shutting out the Rangers through six innings while Lynn would allow three runs over that same span.

Although Verlander had managed his pitch count well through his six innings, he would not be asked to extend himself as Houston gears up for the postseason. That didn't keep him from putting up more strikeouts and efficiency to his season totals, though. His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 0 HR.

2) Houston backs up JV with 3 home runs while the bullpen finishes it off

Meanwhile, Verlander's offense provided him with three runs of support. The first came on a solo home run by Yuli Gurriel to start the scoring for the night in the bottom of the fifth. In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez hit two solo home runs as well, back-to-back shots to extend the lead to 3-0.

Hector Rondon was the first out of Houston's bullpen to take over for Verlander in the top of the seventh and would allow a solo home run to cut the lead to 3-1 before getting out of the inning. In the bottom of the inning, Robinson Chirinos hit a blooper into left field that the Rangers converged on but could not catch, and with Chirinos not stopping on the bases, was able just to beat out the tag for a triple. He would score on an RBI-single, pushing the lead back to three runs at 4-1.

Will Harris was the next pitcher for Houston and recorded a 1-2-3 inning to maintain the lead headed to the ninth. Roberto Osuna would enter in the top of the ninth, and he was able to close out the three-run lead to reduce Houston's magic number to three and move them to 99 wins on the year.

Up Next: The final game this season between the Astros and Rangers, since Texas has already been eliminated from playoff contention, will take place on Wednesday night at 7:10 PM. Kolby Allard (4-0, 4.34 ERA) is expected to get the start for the Rangers while Gerrit Cole (17-5, 2.62 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros.

The Astros daily report is presented by APG&E.

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