After smashing the Toronto Blue Jays for two days by the combined score of 22-4, the Astros got a taste of their own medicine on Sunday, losing in a 12-0 blowout. Brad Peacock allowed four runs and took the loss but Cionel Perez and Tyler White gave up the remaining eight tallies which makes it less concerning.
Chirinos: Celebrates slam, 6 RBIs
(c) Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle
The Jays used several players with Astros connections to get their revenge. Trent Thornton, who was sent from Houston to Toronto for injured infielder Aledmys Diaz, worked 6-2/3rd innings of shutout ball. Teoscar Hernandez, a former Astro, smacked two homers and drove in four. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., younger brother of Yuli Gurriel, also homered and drove in four. Cavan Biggio, son of you-know-who, celebrated Father's Day with two hits for his Hall-of-Fame dad.
It wasn't a celebratory mood in the Houston clubhouse but the loss didn't actually hurt much either. The 48-24 Astros remained 9-1/2 games in front of the Rangers and comfortably in control of the division. They remained 1-1/2 games behind surprising Minnesota for the best record in the American League.
The defeat however continued a nasty trend of the past two months were the final game of the series, more often then not, is either a deflating loss or a game that drags into extra innings after blowing a late lead. For some reason, the Astros let their guard down during the series finale and they will need to fix that before reaching a Game Seven.
The highlight of the homestand, of course, was the unreal debut of Yordan Alvarez, who had bashed four homers in just his first week as a big leaguer. I know he won't be that way every week but he has definitely put the baseball world on notice what a fantastic star he could become.
Gerrit Cole and Framber Valdez were solid in the first two games of the series. Alvarez, Robinson Chirinos, Alex Bregman and the rest of the bats were blazing at times during the series. Chirinos belted a grand slam and drove in a career-high six RBIs in Friday's 15-2 rout.
Having completed a 5-3 homestand, the Astros take a week on the road to face the Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees. The 31-38 Redlegs open Monday with Luis Castillo (6-1) facing Houston lefty Wade Miley (6-3) at the Great American Ballpark. Justin Verlander (9-2) looks to get back on track for the Astros on Tuesday night against Anthony DeSclafani (3-3) in the middle match. Both nights will begin at 6:10 pm Central. Cole (6-5) will pitch the 11:35 am Central finale opposite Tyler "U.S." Mahle (2-7).
Houston sent down outfielder Derek Fisher on Friday to call up righthander Rogelio Armenteros who entered Friday's blowout with three shutout innings for his first save. Jake Marinick injured his knee but an MRI proved negative. He may miss a few days and could be put on the injured list. Second baseman Jose Altuve has begun a rehab stint with AAA Round Rock and may rejoin the Astros by the end of the series. Altuve has been out of action since May 10th with hamstring and knee issues. Catcher Max Stassi is also in a rehab assignment and could be back with the Astros by the end of the road trip.
- Bob Hulsey