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

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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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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