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Zack Greinke and Alex Bregman put Astros back on track. Take finale 4-1 over A’s

Astros finish tough road trip on winning note thanks to Greinke’s 200th career win. Head home for game Monday.

MLB: Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Our long Astros fan nightmare is over. After losing five straight and six of seven, our boys are back on track.

Today Zack Greinke looked like he has finally settled in as an Astro, and showed why the team traded such valuable future assets to obtain his services. He was the stopper today, pitching seven innings, allowing only four hits, with six strikeouts. The only damage done was the solo home run by Marcus Semien in the fourth inning.

He does crazy stuff on the mound like throwing change-ups faster than fastballs.

In the meantime, Alex Bregman gave the Astros just enough offense to seal the victory behind Greinke’s sterling pitching. After Josh Reddick and George Springer singled in the fifth, with two outs and an 0-2 count, Bregman lifted a shot just over the left field fence to give the Astros a 3-1 lead. It was his 30th homer of the season, his second consecutive season to reach that mark. That ties him for 5th in the AL at the time of this writing, and his 154 wRC+ is second. (Just ahead of #3 George Springer, #4 Michael Brantley, and #9 Jose Altuve).

Yuli Gurriel provided insurance in the sixth inning with an RBI double that scored Carlos Correa.

Besides getting our first glimpse of ACE level Greinke, the recent bullpen woes were a thing of the past today as well, as Ryan Pressly and Roberto Osuna held the eighth and saved the ninth innings respectively.

There was a little defensive help.

On another double play, Zack Greinke was on the receiving end of a Carlos Correa fastball to first. Here’s his reaction.

A few miscellaneous notables. Alex Bregman was 4 for 4 today and was just a triple shy of the cycle. Michael Brantley had another multi-hit game, his 51st, most in the the AL.

This was his second hit.

Brantley is in a dogfight for the AL batting title. His .335 BA and 149 wRC+ compares thus to that of his main competitor, DJ LeMahieu: .339, 143.

With 35 games left in the season, Yuli Gurriel already has 86 RBI, just ahead of Alex Bregman’s 83. One hundred from both of these players seems like a foregone conclusion, the question now remains only, 105? 115?

Today’s victory left the Astros 7.5 games ahead of the A’s for the lead of the AL West and 3.5 games behind the Yankees for best record in the AL. The Yankees lost today to the Indians.

Tomorrow the Astros return to the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park to face the worst team in baseball, the Detroit Tigers.

Wade Miley hopes to make amends for the sub-par performance in his last start. He takes the mound against 35 year-old Edwin Jackson, who comes to Houston with an 8.62 ERA.

Box score and videos HERE.