Astros Top Angels, Eye Division Crown Saturday

Explosive first inning paves way to Astros 6th straight win

SportsRadio 610 at Night
September 20, 2019 - 11:06 pm

HOUSTON (SPORTSRADIO 610) -- The Astros jumped all over Jaime Barria and the Angels (69-84) early Friday night, launching three homers in the first-inning en route to a 6-4 victory in the opener of the final home series of the regular season at Minute Maid Park. 

The Astros (101-53) capitalized on Barria's hanging off-speed pitches in the first frame to tally four extra-base hits, including three homers to set the tone for the night. 

Jose Altuve led off the game, drilling a 2-2 slider from Barria to give the Astros the early 1-0 lead. That home run was Altuve's 14th career leadoff homer and his 30th homer of the season, setting a club record for most players with at least 30 home runs in a season. George Springer, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel have each hit 30 or more homers on the year. 

Two batters later, Alex Bregman spun on a 2-1 slider from Barria for his 38th home run of the season to make it a 2-0 ballgame. Following a Yordan Alvarez single, Carlos Correa, playing in just his second game since a month long stint on the injured list, hammered a 1-2 changeup for his 20th homer of the season out near the Conoco home run pump in left-centerfield to give the Astros a 4-0 lead. 

Correa said he feels great since making his return, "No issues at all, I've been working on it and feel very confident moving forward," Correa said after the win. 

Astros manager AJ Hinch likes what he sees from Correa as well. 

"I like that he's unrestricted. I love his presence on defense, so when he gets rewarded for some good swings, we want to see that, he wants to see that and it's nice when he contributes that way," Hinch said. 

After first baseman Aledmys Diaz nearly missed hitting the third homer of the inning for the Astros, doubling to deep left-center, Josh Reddick drove him in with an RBI-single to center, giving Zack Greinke a 5-0 cushion to work with after one-inning of play. 

The Astros gave a run back in the third. Angels catcher Kevan Smith took Greinke deep on the first pitch he saw to lead off the inning, making it a 5-1 Astros lead. 

Carlos Correa quickly got the run back for the Astros in the bottom of the inning, taking Barria deep for a second time by crushing a 2-1 slider left hanging in the middle of the zone for his 21st home run of the season and a 6-1 Astros lead. 

Barria hit Chirinos in the left arm with a 91-mph heater a couple of batters later, which would end Barria's night (2.2 IP, 8H 6ER, 4HR) and put runners on first and second with two outs. But the Astros weren't able to do any further damage. 

Greinke was touched up to start the Angels fourth inning, allowing five straight hits and three runs to cross before recording an out, making it a 6-4 ballgame. Greinke settled down a bit after getting a friendly double-play ball to help stifle the Angels rally, and notched his fourth strikeout of the game to get out of the inning. 

While Greinke (5IP 7H 4ER 0BB 4K 86 pitches) didn't have his best stuff, he pitched well enough to win on most nights, and in fact extended his streak to 23 consecutive innings without issuing a walk, which is the longest streak of his career.

The Astros would've loved some insurance runs after the Angels kept the base paths busy in the fourth, but didn't threaten too much more damage after Chirinos made it to third base in the bottom of the sixth after a leadoff double,

Josh James pitched a solid sixth inning for the Astros, walking one and striking out two. 

Astros reliever Ryan Pressly, who had been out of action for the last month after undergoing an arthroscopic knee procedure, was activated from the injured list earlier in the day, made his first appearance since August 20th. Pressly, pitched a perfect seventh-inning for the Astros, striking out two Angels on 10 pitches, throwing 8 for strikes. 

Will Harris, who has been terrific for the Astros of late, needed only 12-pitches to set the Angels down in order in the eighth. Harris' perfect eigth gave him 12 scoreless outings in his last 13 appearances, posting a 0.75 ERA during that stretch.  

Roberto Osuna, despite giving up a two-out single, needed only 15 pitches to record his 36th save of the season, and nail down the Astros 6th straight win and 101st victory on the season. 

The Astros magic number is down to 1 game and can win the AL West Saturday with a victory over the Angels. 

GAME NOTES

Astros History

Jose Altuve hit the 14th leadoff home run of his career Friday night, which was also his 30th of the season. The Astros have four players with 30+ home runs for the first time in club history (Springer, Bregman and Gurriel).

Hitting his stride

Carlos Correa hit two-home runs on the evening, giving him 21 on the season and marked the 2nd time this season and the 9th time in his career he's had a multi-homer game. 

Jose Altuve has hit 20 home runs since the All-Star Break. 

Zack Greinke allowed 4 runs on 7 hits with 4 strikeouts in 5 innings, which marked his 9th season pitching 200 or more innings, including five of his last six seasons.

Coming Up:

Saturday, Sept. 21 6:10pm - LAA - LHP Wade Miley (14-5, 3.71) vs. Patrick Sandoval (0-3, 4.91) 

Sunday, Sept. 22 1:10pm - LAA - RHP Justin Verlander (19-6, 2.50) vs. Jose Rodriguez (0-0, 1.84)

Monday, Sept. 23 - SCHEDULED OFF DAY