Astros fall to 4-4 on the year

Greinke much improved, Astros fall to Angels in extra innings

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After finishing the opening game of this three-game series at approximately 12:30 AM Central on Friday night / Saturday morning, the Astros and Angels were back in action on Saturday evening, with Houston looking to lock up the series win and extend their division lead. Here is a recap of the middle game:

Final Score (10 Innings): Angels 5, Astros 4.

Record: 4-4, first in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Ryan Buchter (2-0, 0.00 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Nivaldo Rodriguez (0-1, 0.00 ERA).

Greinke looks much improved, but falters in sixth inning

After combining for 15 runs the night prior, both teams had slow starts on Saturday evening. For the Angels, that came at the hand of Zack Greinke, who put together a vastly more impressive start than his 2020 debut where he went just 3.1 innings and allowed three runs.

Greinke did not allow a baserunner until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Angels would get their first hit with one out. That would break the seal on their offense, as Los Angeles would end up tagging Greinke with two runs on a sac-fly and RBI-single, ending his night two outs into the inning as Blake Taylor would get the final out. Greinke's final line: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 4 K.

Angels stay in command through eight

Houston was able to create some chances in the early parts of the game, but couldn't convert them. They had runners on in five of the first six innings, but would not be able to get on the board over that span. Josh Reddick led off the top of the seventh with a double, moved to third on a groundout, then scored to cut the lead in half on a two-out RBI-single by George Springer.

Taylor remained in the game for Houston on the mound in the bottom of the seventh, and he continued his impressive start to his rookie campaign by working around a two-out single to keep it a one-run game. Ryan Pressly would make his 2020 debut out of the bullpen in the bottom of the eighth to try and give Houston's offense a chance in the top of the ninth. He was greeted with a lead-off triple, which would eventually turn into a run on a two-out RBI-single to push Los Angeles back in front by two at 3-1. That would also mark the end of Pressly's night as Brandon Bailey would come in to get the final out of the frame.

Teams trade blows to go to extras, Angels come out ahead in tenth

In the top of the ninth, Josh Reddick was able to get Houston back within one run with a one-out solo home run. After Garrett Stubbs kept Houston alive with a two-out single, George Springer would give the Astros their first lead of the day with a two-run home run, making it a 4-3 Astros advantage. Now in a save situation, Roberto Osuna came in for the bottom of the ninth. He would get one out, then allow a runner before being taken out mid-at-bat with an injury.

Cy Sneed would enter quickly, and after a wild pitch to move the runner to second allowed an RBI-double to former-Astro Jason Castro to tie the game 4-4. Sneed would hold the Angels there, sending the game to extra innings. Alex Bregman would start the top of the tenth on second base per the 2020 rules and would be joined by Kyle Tucker, who received an intentional walk to start the inning with two on base and no outs.

Though the Astros would load the bases with two outs, the Angels would get out of the jam with a strikeout. Nivaldo Rodriguez would come out of the bullpen for the bottom of the tenth and allowed the walk-off to tie the series at one apiece.

Up Next: The finale of this series will start at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. The pitching matchup will be two pitchers looking to rebound from underwhelming season debuts. Josh James will be on the mound for Houston after allowing three runs over three innings in his first start, and Shohei Ohtani is starting for Los Angeles, who allowed five runs without recording an out in his.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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