Houston loses in lopsided fashion

Padres unload on Astros early to hand Houston back-to-back losses

Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

With their eight-game winning streak snapped the night before, the Astros returned to Petco Park on Saturday night looking for a win to even the series and set up a chance to win the series on Sunday. Here is how the middle game against the Padres unfolded:

Final Score: Padres 13, Astros 2.

Record: 15-12, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zach Davies (4-2, 3.03 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-1, 4.37 ERA).

Padres knock Bielak out early and blow it open

Jose Altuve stayed hot at the plate in the top of the first, hitting a one-out double to start the hitting for the night. He would advance to third after back-to-back walks after him, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Yuli Gurriel to put the Astros out front 1-0. The Padres responded with a hotter start, getting two solo home runs off of Brandon Bielak in the bottom of the inning to get a 2-1 lead. The Padres got after him again in the bottom of the second inning, getting a leadoff solo home run, then later a three-run home run to extend their lead to 6-1.

After the three-run shot, Bielak would throw a changeup that ran inside and hit Fernando Tatis Jr. on the backside, resulting in warnings to both teams. Both managers would take their time getting explanations, and meanwhile, Dusty Baker would make the call to end Bielak's night early and move to Humberto Castellanos. Bielak's short, final line: 1.1 IP, 5 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 4 HR. Castellanos would not fare any better once he came into the game, allowing a grand slam, San Diego's fifth in six games, to blow the game open at 11-1.

San Diego secures the series win over Houston

Taylor Jones would notch his first major-league home run in the top of the fifth, a solo shot, making it 11-2. Castellanos was able to make it to one out in the fourth before the Astros would move on to their next reliever, Joe Biagini. Biagini was able to get into the seventh inning before the Padres would score again, getting a two-run home run by Trent Grisham, his third of the night, to make it an eleven-run game again at 13-2.

Cy Sneed was Houston's fourth pitcher of the night, coming on for the eighth and striking out the three batters he faced. Houston would obviously not make the miraculous comeback in the top of the ninth, making the 13-2 score final, and securing the series for San Diego.

Up Next: The series finale between the Astros and Padres will get underway at 3:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.84 ERA) will hope to improve to 2-0 and continue his success in 2020 for Houston, while San Diego's starter is TBD.

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Correa could be on his way out. Composite image by Jack Brame.

It has not been the best of times to be a star athlete in Houston. In the last year, Jadeveon Clowney and DeAndre Hopkins were solid off for a warm bucket of spit. George Springer won't be back. James Harden and Russell Westbrook rumors are rampant. J.J. Watt might be moving on as well.

Now, reports are the Astros are listening to offers for Carlos Correa.

Predictably, Astros fans are livid. And if it's true, they should be concerned about the bigger picture.

Trading Correa makes sense - if you have no plans on keeping him after next season, as was clearly the case with Springer. If the Astros can get a haul and replenish the farm system, it would be the right move, especially considering Correa's injury history.

But in the long run, it does not bode well for the direction of the team. All recent indications are that the Astros are going cheap.

They would still be a competitive team without Correa, but it would be yet another indication their World Series window has closed. Alex Bregman could slide over to shortstop, but who would play third? And they only have one starting outfielder on the roster as it is. Putting together a competitive lineup around Bregman, Jose Altuve, Kyle Tucker, Yuli Gurriel and Yordan Alvarez would still be possible, but if the Astros aren't going to spend money, that could be problematic.

The writing was probably on the wall when the team hired James Click as GM from the notoriously frugal Tampa Bay organization. The good news is the Rays have been successful. But this is a new direction for a team that was not afraid to spend big money to make runs at the World Series.

If they lose Correa, they lose a team leader, one of the few players who embraced the villain role in the wake of the cheating controversy and was not afraid to speak out. But he has never lived up to his MVP potential, has battled injuries and will command big dollars on the open market. He is still young enough to become that kind of player, and someone will gamble big money that he will.

Sadly, if this rumor is true, it won't be the Astros.

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