The Road Warriors that are the 2018 Houston Astros finished off another successful trip Wednesday with a 5-4 nailbiter over the Tigers in Detroit that, just like Tuesday's 5-4 win, featured the Astros' bullpen clutching tightly a late lead. Houston took 5-of-6 on this trip which was necessary because Oakland wasn't giving them any ground. The Astros left Houston with a 2-1/2 game lead. They returned with a three-game lead.
Bregman: MVP numbers?
(c) Associated Press
Gerrit Cole (260) fanned nine kitties to take over the league lead from teammate Justin Verlander (258). The two are likely to leap-frog each other through the end of the season. Cole exited after five innings with a 5-2 lead. Rookie Josh James, in his second relief appearance with the Astros, tossed three innings and gave up the final two runs with a home run by Nick Castellanos. With several Astros worked hard by the number of close finishes, Ryan Pressly stepped up to get the save in the ninth.
Alex Bregman drove home the first three Houston runs to reach 100 RBIs for the first time in his career. He's the first third baseman (principally) in big league history to bash 30 homers, 50 doubles and drive in 100 runs. He singled to left in the third against winless Daniel Norris to score Martin Maldonado with the game's first run. He came back in the fifth to double just inside the left field line to plate Jake Marisnick and George Springer for a 3-2 Houston lead.
That same inning, Tyler White drove home Bregman with a sacrifice fly and Marwin Gonzalez drove Carlos Correa home with a double.
The final drama came in the bottom of the eighth when Dawel Lugo came up with two outs and a runner on first. Lugo lined a drive off James down the right field line but Springer hustled over to make a diving stab that ended the threat.
Looking at the schedule the rest of the year is as follows:
HOU: ARI (3), SEA (3), ANA (3), @TOR (3), @BAL (4).
OAK: @BAL (1), @TAM (3), ANA (3), MIN (3), @SEA (3), @ANA (3).
Houston's next hurdle is hosting the D-Backs who are in their own playoff dogfight in the National League. Dallas Keuchel (11-10) will pitch the series opener against fellow southpaw Robbie Ray (5-2) in a 7:10 pm Central duel on Friday. Back in 2015, Keuchel got his 20th win of that season against Arizona.
- Bob Hulsey