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 went yard several times

Astros take series from Angels with a home run parade

Houston homered their way to another series win Wednesday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

After losing the opener then winning an exciting game Tuesday night, the Astros were seeking another series victory by winning the rubber match on Wednesday. They would blast homers all through the night, pushing them over the Angels in the finale.

Final Score: Astros 9, Angels 1

Astros' Record: 20-17, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (2-2)

Losing Pitcher: Andrew Heaney (1-3)

Astros grab an early lead, Urquidy exits with injury

Houston made early noise in Wednesday night's game, with Jose Altuve turning around the very first pitch of the bottom of the first inning for a solo homer. A two-out single later in the inning set up Yuli Gurriel for his seventh home run and 30th RBI of the season, putting the Astros out to an early 3-0 lead.

Jose Urquidy looked in control through the first three innings, allowing just two hits while maintaining the lead. However, after recording the second out of the fourth, he would be visited by training and coaching staff on the mound before being removed, later diagnosed with posterior shoulder discomfort. Brandon Bielak would quickly enter the game, picking up where Urquidy left off by keeping the Angels off the board.

Tucker stays hot as Bielak locks in out of the bullpen

Still 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Kyle Tucker would extend his recent hot streak by putting two more runs on the board with a blast to extend the lead to 5-0. Bielak remained in the game in the top of the seventh, having allowed just one hit while retiring all other batters since entering in the top of the fourth. He made it through that inning, putting Los Angeles down 1-2-3, and stayed on the mound in the top of the eighth.

He wouldn't be able to get any further, allowing a leadoff walk followed by a single, putting runners on the corners and prompting Dusty Baker to go to the third pitcher of the night, Andre Scrubb. The Angels would get on the board with a sac fly to make it 5-1, but Scrubb would finish the inning with no further damage.

Astros continue the home run barrage to take the series

Yordan Alvarez would get the run back with Houston's fourth dinger of the night, a solo shot to make it 6-1. They continued to pour it on, with Chaz McCormick joining the home run parade with a three-run blast later in the inning, making it 9-1. Joe Smith would take over on the mound in the top of the ninth, finishing off the lopsided win to give Houston the series victory as they turn the page to another division opponent.

Up Next: Having already faced the rest of the division in 2021 multiple times, the Astros will have their first series against the Texas Rangers starting Thursday at 7:10 PM Central at Minute Maid Park. In the opener, Cristian Javier (3-1, 2.90 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston, going up against Mike Foltynewicz (1-3, 4.50 ERA).

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