STAR POWER

How the Astros can get back on track after dropping 3 straight

No need to panic. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images.

After a 5-1 record to start the season, the Astros looked to continue their winning ways at home in front of their fans for the first time since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals.

"It was a beautiful night," José Altuve said. "Kind of like a dream come true."

After receiving some harsh (yet sometimes funny) criticism from opposing fans to start the season, the Astros were welcomed back with open arms. Manager Dusty Baker said the crowd had an effect on the game as well.

"It made a big difference," manager Dusty Baker said. "I could see the positive energy on our team."

The Astros won their home opener 6-2 behind a good start from Cristian Javier (1-0) who threw 5 scoreless innings and gave up three hits with seven strikeouts.

Houston also received some production from their bats as Carlos Correa, Yordan Alvarez and Atluve all homered to help the Astros increase their record to 6-1 to start the season.

The Astros outscored their opponents 52-19 their first seven games of the season and Michael Brantley led the team with a .538 batting average. The Astros top 6 hitters were all batting over .300 during this 6-1 stretch.

This would unfortunately be the peak of their young season. After their home opener, the Astros would go on to lose their next three games. (Two losses to the A's and one loss to the Tigers).

How the Astros can get back on track

The Astros were outscored 19-7 during this losing streak and left a total of 22 runners on base.

Pitchers Jose Urquidy and Zack Greinke combined to give up 11 runs in back-to-back starts. This in addition to their inability to drive in runs consistently is what ultimately lead to their current 3-game losing streak.

The Astros currently sit at 6-4 and are in second place behind the Los Angeles Angels (7-4) in the American League West.

A three-game losing streak only 10 games into the 2021 season is hardly a cause for concern as the Astros still have one of the most potent offenses in the league and have the pitching to compete with any team in the big leagues.

ONE THING TO NOTE: This was AJ Hinch's first game since getting let go from the Astros in early 2020. The former Astros' manager received a video tribute prior to Monday's game against the Tigers, and got a standing ovation when his name was announced as the Tigers' manager.

"This place is very special to me," Hinch said. "It's the only time I've ever been uncomfortable in this setting, in this building. I really do appreciate it. It touched me. I wanted to get out and tip my cap and then get back in before I showed too much emotion."

UP NEXT: Jake Odorizzi will make his season debut when the series continues Tuesday night after signing with the Astros on March 8th. He will be facing left-hander Matthew Boyd as the Astros look to even the series against the Tigers.

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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