Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez stay hot to keep Astros above .500

What a year so far for Yuli Gurriel. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

The Astros had an interesting week that saw them face their toughest road series of the season so far, and saw a former Astros' homecoming spoiled by the injury bug.

After winning two of three games against the Tampa Bay Rays, Houston looked to conclude their road trip against the New York Yankees.

This was the first time the Astros played them since Jose Altuve's walk-off home run that sent them to the World Series in 2019.

Since their first playoff meeting in 2015, Houston and the Yankees have built a decent rivalry. The bad blood between the two clubs has since been exacerbated due to the Astros' cheating scandal.

Needless to say, the New York faithful were ready to show their disdain for Altuve and the rest of the Astros for the first time since the aforementioned scandal.

10,000 plus Yankees fans showed up to boo Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa and Yuli Gurriel relentlessly every time they stepped into the batter's box.

"It sounded like a packed house," Astros manager Dusty Baker said.

Game 1 of the series saw Zack Greinke face off with Domingo German.

Neither pitcher lasted longer than five innings as the hits came early for both the Astros and the Yankees.

In front of a chorus of booing fans, Alex Bregman silenced the crowd with a 410-foot homer to left center to start the game.

The celebration was short-lived as Giancarlo Stanton hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 1st to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead

Stanton continued to be a menace throughout the game finishing with four hits and three RBI.

The Astros were able to tie the game at 3-3 with a Michael Brantley solo shot and a Gurriel RBI double.

This was as far as the Astros would go this game as the Yankees would score four unanswered runs to win the first game of the series 7-3.

A scary moment occurred towards the end of the game as Yankees' second basemen Rougned Odor collided with Astros' catcher Martin Maldonado. Both had to be helped off the field and did not return.

The second game of the series saw more of the same as Astros did not have an answer for Stanton.

The Yankees' DH knocked in four runs as they bested Houston for the second night 6-3.

The final game showcased Gerrit Cole pitching against the Astros for the first time since he joined the Yankees after the 2019 season.

Cole gave up two solo homers to Yordan Alvarez and were the only RBIs surrendered by the Yankees' ace.

Chad Green came into relief for Cole and got into a little trouble as he gave up a leadoff walk to Kyle Tucker and Aledmys Diaz reached on an infield single.

This brought Altuve to the plate, and he delivered a 404-foot homer to left field, putting the Astros ahead 5-3 on his birthday.

Altuve had been 1 for 11 with no RBI in the series until this moment.

Yankee Stadium was dead silent after the home run.

"It quieted the fans," Astros' manger Dusty Baker said "for a little while, anyway."

The Yankees did score one run in the bottom of the 8th inning to make it a 4-5 contest.

Astros' catcher Martin Maldonado made his return after the collision with Odor and had his best game of the season. He collected three hits and hit a 2-run homer to put the game away for the Astros in the top of the 9th.

Houston won the game 7-4 but lost the series. Their first series loss since they were swept in Colorado on April 21st.

The Astros looked to return home to face another former Astro in George Springer and the Toronto Blue Jays (I know still weird to say.)

This homecoming was ruined by the injury bug, as Springer was placed on the injured list with a strained right quad.

The Toronto outfielder still made the trip to Houston and received a warm welcome by his former team's fans.

The touching moment was followed by an offensive showcase by the Astros.

Yuli Gurriel continued his hot hitting as he tied a career high with fours hits and drove in four runs.

Carlos Correa added a two-run homer to help the Astros route the Blue Jays in a 10-4 victory.

Astros pitcher Jose Urquidy continues to be a solid fixture in this rotation as he threw 7 strong innings for his second consecutive start and gave up only 2 runs.

Game two of the series saw Houston and Toronto flip scripts as the Blue Jays offense was rolling led by a name that will sound familiar to Astros fans.

Cavan Biggio, son of Astros Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, hit his first career home run at Minute Maid Park in front of his family to lead the Blue Jays to a series tying 8-4 victory.

"I've sat in the seats for hundreds of games watching my dad play and now it's a little reversed," Biggio said. "It's pretty cool to be able to do that in front of him in his building."

Cristian Javier received his first loss of the season giving up five earned runs in less than six innings of work.

Game three of the series set up the rubber match between the two clubs.

The bats were once again flying for the Astros as both Kyle Tucker and Altuve went deep to help them win the game 7-4.

Yordan Alvarez continued his hot hitting as he is now third in the league with a .362 batting average.

Houston got off to a 7-0 run before Zack Greinke gave up four runs and was pulled in the 5th inning without recording an out.

This is the third consecutive start that saw Greinke throw four innings or fewer.

The Astros finished the week with a 3-3 record and improved to 18-16 overall.

UP NEXT: Houston will continue their home stand for seven straight games against their division opponents in the Angels and the Rangers.

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It's Draft SZN! Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

On Thursday June 22, the NBA will hold their annual draft. With the Rockets owning the number four overall pick, you'd think things would be looking up for them. However, in a draft where the top three players are all expected to be immediate impact guys, the drop begins where the Rockets are selecting. Armed with some young talent, cap space, and a new head coach, the Rockets are looked at as a team on the rise. But what will help contribute to that rise?

When you have assets, you have options. There are three main options I see here for the Rockets with number four: keep the pick and select the guy you think will work best moving forward; trade up to select the guy they feel they missed out on that isn't a punk Frenchie who dislikes Houston; or trade the pick for an established star. The other option is trading the pick for a good player and a future pick/s. Let's take a look at the options:

Option 1: Keeping the pick means you're drafting the leftovers. Those leftovers start with Amen Thompson. He's the guy I believe can come in and help sooner rather than later. At 6'7 and 215 pounds, he has an NBA body. His skill set can come in handy because he's played point guard. This team could use a true point guard, but Thompson isn't exactly a traditional point. He has the size of a wing player, which allows him to see over the top of the defense. His outside shooting is abysmal and needs a vast improvement. To me, adjusting to life as a pro without his twin brother Ausar, another good draft prospect himself, will be difficult. Overall, I believe he's the guy to take at four if they decide to stay.

Option 2: Trading up to get Scoot Henderson or Brandon Miller may prove to be difficult. Both teams picking ahead of the Rockets have their point guards. Charlotte wants to find Lamelo Ball a running mate and have their eyes rumored to be set on Miller. Portland is trying their best to keep Dame Lillard happy. The Rockets would be best served to trade with either team willing to move down for whatever they offer, provided it's worthwhile. Portland was just in the playoffs the last few years and aren't as far out as some would think. They're the ones I'd eye to trade with. Speaking of Portland and Dame…

Option 3: The Rockets need a point guard and Dame may be looking to get out. Help them start their rebuild and bring Dame to Houston. Or, how about the Jaylen Brown rumors? Fred VanVleet has a player option for next season, then becomes an unrestricted free agent. There are a few options of finding veteran help around the league, especially at the point. Problem is, are any of these team willing to take the Rockets' offers? It'd start with number four, and include other assets as well. This option makes sense if the organization believes the roster, with whatever vet addition they make via trade, is playoff ready.

Option 4: The last option I thought about is to trade the pick for a first rounder in next year's draft and a decent player. I see this as a last resort of sorts. But only if they do not feel comfortable with whatever player they may take. That, and if they want to save cap space for next free agency period. Not having a first rounder next year isn't as bad as one might think. The team will need to make the necessary moves this offseason to ensure that won't be an issue next draft. FOMO is real, especially when a team is rebuilding and can't use one of the best/cheapest forms of acquiring top talent.

I talked with my good friend “TC.” The guy loves basketball and even hips me to a bunch of stuff. He wants them to move up in the draft for Scoot or Miller. While he is a James Harden fan, he doesn't necessarily want him back. He wouldn't mind it, but it's not his first option. I've spoken with a lot of native Houstonians about this. They all want a winner sooner than later, but have different philosophies on how to get there. Personally, I say options two and three are my faves. Trade the pick for help, rookie or vet, and go from there. I guess we'll have to wait three more weeks before we find out. Or will we…

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