Astros have won seven straight

Valdez deals as Astros bash Rockies to continue winning streak

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With a sweep of the Houston-portion of this four-game series, the Astros brought a six-game winning streak to the thin air of Colorado, trying to extend it to seven. Although they received news that Yordan Alvarez would miss the rest of the season, there was some positive news with George Springer back in the lineup. Here is how Wednesday's game unfolded:

Final Score: Astros 13, Rockies 6.

Record: 14-10, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (2-2, 1.72 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Ryan Castellani (0-1, 3.77 ERA).

Astros power their way into a lead, Bregman exits with injury

After a quick first inning, Framber Valdez got into an early jam in the bottom of the second. He would commit an error on a come-backer with one out, then allowed back-to-back singles, one scoring the first run of the evening to put Colorado ahead 1-0. He went on to load the bases by hitting the next batter, then got an incredible play on defense by Carlos Correa to get him out of the jam, a diving snag to start an inning-ending double play.

Martin Maldonado would get the run back in the top of the third, hitting a one-out solo home run. In the top of the fourth, Alex Bregman led it off with a double but would sustain a leg injury between home and first base, immediately exiting the game after getting to second.

Houston would get another long ball in the top of the fifth, as Carlos Correa demolished one to left field to lead off the inning, giving the Astros their first lead, 2-1. Kyle Tucker followed with a triple, then came in on Taylor Jones' first hit and RBI, a single to make it 3-1.

Houston can't stop scoring

In the top of the sixth, Tucker would hit his second triple in as many at-bats, driving in two more runs to extend Houston's lead to 5-1. Jones would follow and get the same result he had in last plate appearance as well, an RBI-single to make it 6-1.

They wouldn't stop there, continuing to punish Colorado's pitchers in the top of the seventh. They added four more runs on six hits, including an RBI-single by Abraham Toro, an RBI-double by Yuli Gurriel, and two more RBI for Correa on a two-run single, making it a nine-run game at 10-1. George Springer would join the party in the top of the eighth, finally connecting on a solo dinger after long flyouts earlier in the night, pushing Houston's lead to ten runs at 11-1.

Valdez with another impressive night on the mound

Meanwhile, Valdez was able to rebound from the run he allowed in the second, allowing just two hits over the next five innings, putting him well in line for the win. With the large lead and his pitch count still manageable, he would return for the bottom of the eighth but would allow a couple of meaningless unearned runs while getting two outs. Nevertheless, an impressive outing. His final line: 7.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 HR.

Make it seven straight

Joe Biagini made his second appearance of the year, following Valdez to get the final out of the eighth. Kyle Tucker would finish his night strong in the top of the ninth, notching his fourth hit of the night and twentieth for Houston, a two-run home run to make it 13-3. Biagini went back out for the bottom of the ninth, but could not record an out, allowing an RBI-single and loading the bases before Dusty Baker would move on to Cy Sneed. Sneed would get the last three outs, but not before Colorado would grab two more runs on a two-out, two-RBI single, making it 13-6. The win made it seven straight for the Astros.

Up Next: The fourth and final game of this set between the Astros and Rockies will be another afternoon game, with first pitch scheduled for Thursday at 2:10 PM Central. Cristian Javier (2-1, 2.91 ERA) will look to build on the success of the six-inning shutout start his last time out for Houston, while German Marquez (2-3, 2.25 ERA) will be on the mound for Colorado.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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