ASTROS DEFEAT ROCKIES!

Astros snap a 5-game losing streak with win over Rockies in Mexico

Astros snap a 5-game losing streak with win over Rockies in Mexico
Astros defeat the Rockies, 12-4. Composite Getty Image.

Before the first of two games in Mexico City, Houston Astros manager Joe Espada said he hoped that the trip could help them solve their offensive struggles.

Apparently, it worked.

Yordan Alvarez hit two home runs, Kyle Tucker added a solo shot and the Houston Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 12-4 on Saturday night in the MLB World Tour: Mexico City Series to snap a five-game losing streak.

Alvarez hit a two-run homer to center field and Tucker followed with a shot to left field and the Astros took a 4-2 lead in the third. Alvarez hit his seventh home run of the season in the ninth inning.

“Today we were able to bat with runners in scoring positions, that's a good sign for the team," Espada said. "We took strong turns and we were able to spread the ball on the field, that really helped us today."

Alvarez went 3 for 5 with three RBIs and two runs scored and Yainer Diaz had three hits and scored three runs.

“When we saw the introductions, we knew that it was a moment to think that the season was just beginning for us,” Alvarez said. “We knew that we were struggling, but we trust in the team’s talent.”

Ronel Blanco (3-0) allowed two hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

The Rockies' Cal Quantrill (0-3) allowed six hits and six earned runs in five innings.

"We have not played to our standards, but hopefully we get there,” said Rockies manager Bud Black. “For me, all was positive (from the game in Mexico) except for the outcome.”

Houston arrived in Mexico City after scoring just six runs in a three-game sweep at the hands of the Chicago Cubs, but the team took advantage of the 7,349-foot (2,240-meter) elevation of the Alfredo Harp Helú stadium to break the offensive slump with 15 hits against the Rockies.

The Astros also benefited from the support of the crowd, most of them wearing the team's colors even though the Rockies were the home team.

“We did not feel like the visiting team, we felt at home. There was a tremendous passion and energy in the stadium, and it really felt like home,” Espada said.

The Rockies took the lead on Ryan McMahon's two-run homer to center field in the first.

The Astros pulled ahead for good after Alvarez and Tucker hit their homers in the third.

The series marks the Astros' second regular-season visit to Mexico. In May 2019, they swept the Angels in two games played in Monterrey. The Astros also played exhibition games in Mexico against the Padres in 2016 and Marlins in 2004.

The Rockies, who came south of the border after beating the Padres 10-9 at Coors Field, have yet to win consecutive games this season, the longest such stretch to begin a season in franchise history.

Colorado played their second regular-season game in Mexico. In 1999, they beat San Diego in their season opener, also at Monterrey.

URQUIDY MISSES THE CHANCE

José Urquidy played with the Astros in a exhibition game against the San Diego Padres in Mexico City in 2016, but a right arm injury left him out of the series against the Colorado Rockies.

“Back then (2016) I was a kid just dreaming of playing in the majors. It was a long process for me to become a starter in the MLB, but I made it,” said Urquidy, who despite not being able to play was joined by family and friends.

The right-hander, who was born in Mazatlan, invited some of his closest friends, some of whom lack visas to enter the United States and have never seen a major league game.

“Even though I’m not playing, I’m happy for them to be able to watch a major league game live. We had a day off (Friday) and they get to know some of my teammates. I’m happy for them,” Urquidy said.

The 28-year-old Urquidy said that he threw a bullpen session in Mexico City and feels close to a return to the rotation.

UP NEXT

Astros LHP Framber Valdez (0-0, 2.19 ERA) is scheduled to start Sunday night against Rockies LHP Austin Gomber (0-1, 4.32) in the second game in Mexico City.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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