*The Astros beat the Pirates in what was the 3rd-shortest game of the year.
*Teoscar Hernandez's 2-run homer in the 5th provided the margin for the Astros' 3-1 win. Hernandez:
I just try to be patient at home plate, try to make some adjustments. The past couple of games, I was swinging at pitches out of the zone. I'm just trying to do the best I can - see the ball and try to hit it hard and do some damage.
Hinch, on Hernandez:
A year ago, he was struggling in Double-A and was all over the batter's box...Our development staff did a really good job of honing him in and getting him in the strike zone...He's staying with his approach and recognizing pitches at a much better level than we expected, given how his career track had been.
*Doug Fister's seven scoreless IP means he has now thrown over 150IP, giving him an extra $1m in the ol' bank account. Fister:
Guys feed off of one another and that's something we've done the last few days. We've bounced back from rain delays and tough outings in Baltimore, but we're playing well and that's what it comes down to.
*Via Daren Willman, opposing hitters are 8x93 with 61Ks against Ken Giles' slider.
*Scoreboard watchin': the Orioles won, as did the Red Sox, and the Mariners beat the Yankees. The Rangers, Royals, and Tigers were off.
So the Astros are 8.0 GB of West Forney, 2.5 GB of Seattle in the AL West.
The Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles are in a three-way fight for the AL East/WC spots: Right now Toronto and Boston are tied at 70-54 the Orioles a game back for three of the AL playoffs spots. The Astros are 3.5 GB of the WC2 with the Mariners and Tigers between them.
*The Ringer: The evolution of Jose Altuve's strike zone.
*Vice Sports: Yulieski Gurriel's debut was the end of an era for Cuban baseball.
*Luis Valbuena will meet with a specialist tomorrow (Wednesday) to determine if he needs surgery on his hamstring.
*Preston Tucker is getting close to a rehab assignment in advance of the September 1 Call-Up date.
*Carlos Gomez will be the starting LF for the 1st place Ramgers:
I have no hard feelings toward the Astros. I did not do my job, and they released me. I take it like a man. Now I refresh everything. My new season starts today. Whatever I did from the last five months is gone. The only thing that counts is the next five weeks. I've got a lot left to give.
*Fresno's Jon Kemmer is hitting .346/.411/.704 with seven homers in August. Kemmer:
It wasn't really a ton of big things, I just put the right work in the cage and I've taken advantage of my opportunities. There have been a lot of outfielders get called up to the big leagues and stuff, so I had a couple meetings with the coaches...they told me to be patient and take advantage of my opportunities.
*Corpus' J.D. Davis was the Texas League Player of the Week after going 10x23 with 6RBI last week.
*Scott Miller writes that there's more to Rougned Odor than one punch.