Last night there were seventeen runs. It was a slugfest, and it seemed no pitcher could be relied on to stop the others’ offense.
Tonight, at first, it looked like it was going to be a repeat.
Alex Bregman put the Astros on top almost right away in the first with a solo home run just over the fence in the left field corner.
But when it came time for the Rockies to bat, it felt like they were going to put the game out of reach right away. Wade Miley, normally a good control pitcher, could not find the strike zone in the first inning. He walked lead off hitter Charlie Blackmon. Then he walked #2 Trevor Story on four pitches. Then he threw three straight balls to Nolan Arenado. Arenado decided to swing at the fourth pitch, and luckily for the Astros, he popped it straight up in the air between the catcher and the pitcher. No one decided to catch it, but Arenado was out on the infield fly rule. David Dahl then flied out to left on the next pitch by Miley and he appeared seemingly out of trouble. But the Rockies salvaged a run on an Ian Desmond single before Daniel Murphy flied into out three.
For the inning Miley threw 15 balls and eight strikes, but escaped in the mountain air with only one run. It was the only run he allowed in six innings. He ended his outing allowing five hits, two walks and striking out six Rockies.
In the second inning Yuli Gurriel hit a 450 foot Cuban missile to left center field to give Houston another lead. It was his third homer in two games. In the game prior to that he hit a walk-off double, and in the game before that one he hit a walk-off homer. So, Yuli has four homers in his last four games.
Since June 23rd Gurriel has been slashing at .414/.452/1.034 with 5 home runs and 9 RBI. That’s before tonight. Add another homer, another RBI, and two more hits to all that.
But tonight it was Josh Reddick, not Gurriel, who provided the Astros with the margin of victory. With two outs, Rockies starter Peter Lambert walked Alex Bregman and Michael Brantley, and Gurriel loaded the bases with an infield single. Reddick then hit a line drive to center field that looked easily catchable by center fielder Ian Desmond, but it just kept sailing in the thin mountain air just out of Desmond’s reach. Bregman and Brantley scored, but Gurriel was thrown out at home, which ended the inning and the Astros’ scoring.
The Rockies would add a harmless run in the seventh after Charlie Blackmon singled home Ryan McMahon from second, the run charged to Chris Devenski.
Collin McHugh closed out the seventh without allowing further damage, Hector Rondon and Roberto Osuna then finished out the eighth and ninth innings respectively in perfect fashion, giving the Astros their fifth straight win, another close one in Colorado.
Tomorrow is Independence Day. The Astros are somehow off. They take on Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and the Los Angeles Angels Friday at 7:10 CDT.
Box Score and videos HERE.