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Jose Altuve was more than due when he came to bat in the 10th inning Tarell Basham Jersey , and got a winning rally started for the Houston Astros.
”He hadn’t gotten a hit in four at-bats,” manager A.J. Hinch said of the second basemen who led the American League in hits each of the past four seasons and is the MLB leader so far this year.
Altuve was actually in an 0-for-13 slide before his fifth at-bat Wednesday night against the Texas Rangers. His 115th hit of the season was a one-out single off Chris Martin, who then hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch before an errant pickoff throw allowed both runners to move up. That set up Evan Gattis‘ tiebreaking sacrifice fly in a 5-4 victory.
Gurriel homered, doubled and scored twice as the Astros overcame an early four-run deficit. His fifth homer, leading off the fifth against starter Mike Minor, tied the game at 4.
Josh Reddick also went deep for the Astros, who their eighth consecutive road game against Texas and are a majors-best 32-14 on the road this season. The Astros have a 12-4 advantage in the season series between the instate division rivals that has only a three-game set remaining in Houston later this month.
Shin-Soo Choo homered and had a single to extend his on-base streak to 44 games, the longest in his career and in the majors this season. That matches Otis Nixon’s streak in 1995 for the Rangers, and trails only Julio Franco’s 46-gamer in 1993 for the team record.
Texas led 4-0 after Choo’s one-out solo homer started a three-run outburst in the third off starter Gerrit Cole.
Collin McHugh (4-0), who won 48 games as a starter for the Astros the past four seasons, allowed only one hit over three scoreless innings. Ken Giles worked the 10th for his 12th save in 12 chances.
”You’re talking about a 19-game winner in the big leagues. Those don’t grow on trees,” said Astros reliever Will Harris, who worked out of a jam in the sixth before McHugh took over. ”He goes out there and he knows who he is. He mixes it up, he’s a strike thrower and he’s a fearless guy out there.”
The start of the game was delayed for a few minutes after Minor had issues with the mound during warmups. The ground crew came out to work on the slippery dirt. Cole also was unhappy with the mound. Martin (1-2) slipped and fell down when throwing the pitch that hit Gurriel. The Rangers said afterward that Martin was being evaluated for a left groin issue.
”The mound early seemed to be slick,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
DEEP ON THE ROAD
The Astros have homered in 24 consecutive road games, three short of the MLB record set by the Oakland Athletics earlier this season. Baltimore also went deep in 24 consecutive road games in 1996.
RACKING UP K’s
Cole, who threw 108 pitches to get through five innings, struck out seven to increase his season total to 158. The only Astros pitcher with more strikeouts before the All-Star break is Mike Scott Ryan Grant Jersey , with 167 in 22 starts in 1986. Cole has made 18 starts, with two more scheduled before the break. … In four starts against Texas this season, Cole has 40 strikeouts in 25 innings.
FAR FROM PERFECT
Minor retired the first 19 San Diego batters he faced in his previous start a week earlier. The lefty allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over six innings against Houston with four strikeouts and three walks.
”Probably not as sharp as he’s been,” Banister said. ”Looked like they were sitting on slider.”
Astros: Hinch said C Max Stassi was feeling better than expected after getting hit by a pitch on his right (throwing) wrist in the first inning Tuesday, on the same day starting catcher Brian McCann had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre, baseball’s active career hits leader (3,108), was scratched from the lineup about an hour before the game because of an infected tooth. He had a root canal and then traveled with the team to Detroit. … RHP Tony Barnette went on the 10-day disabled list. An MRI revealed a strained lat that will keep him from throwing for at least four weeks. He left Tuesday night’s game in the middle of a batter.
Astros: Justin Verlander (9-4), who has lost his last two starts, is on the mound when the Astros return home for the opener Thursday night of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Rangers: The Rangers open a 10-game, 11-day trip that will take them to the All-Star break when they play Thursday night at Detroit. Texas also plays at Boston and Baltimore before their next home game July 20.
PHOENIX — For the first time this season, the Arizona Diamondbacks had their projected big four in the lineup Thursday, although that did not keep the San Diego Padres from winning the first contest of a four-game series.
Right fielder Steven Souza Jr. was activated from the disabled list after missing the majority of the season with a pectoral injury suffered the final week of spring training, at last joining first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, center fielder A.J. Pollock and third baseman Jake Lamb in the same lineup.
Lamb and Pollock also were on the disabled list at times in the early season, keeping the foursome apart.
“When we traded for Steven, there was a lot of excitement, hoping we could get all of these guys on one lineup card Marshall Faulk Jersey ,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “It means that we are getting healthy, and it means the good things are on the way.”
Although Pollock had two of Arizona’s 11 hits and lefty-hitting Lamb had an RBI single off San Diego left-hander Eric Lauer, the Padres took a 6-3 victory at Chase Field.
Arizona right-hander Zack Godley is scheduled to face Padres lefty Joey Lucchesi in the second game of the series Friday.
Without their full complement, the Diamondbacks have not produced at expected levels this season, although the installation of a humidor as well as health could play into it.
They have 381 runs, two more than the league average, but are hitting a league-low .230 and have a .699 OPS, 12th in the league and ahead of only the Mets, Miami and San Diego. The Diamondbacks worked through a 2-15 stretch in May to regain the NL West lead in June, although they fell into a virtual tie with the Dodgers with their loss Thursday.
“We’ve been two different teams in two different months,” Lovullo said. “It’s been crazy. But now that everybody is healthy, we are hoping that there is a little lineup continuity and we start to do the things that we were projected as a team that we could do.
“We’re winning games. We’re doing OK in that regard. But I feel like offensively with this group of guys on the field at one time, we could do some pretty special things. I know that these guys are anxious to get going and play together.”
The return to full health will give Arizona a chance to assess its full roster as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.
“Projecting the things we want to offensively with this group, it will give us a snapshot of what we really are,” Lovullo said. “I know we already are a good team. If guys perform, and we are talking about some good players coming back, if guys perform up to their abilities, we are going to be even better.”
San Diego Eric Ebron Jersey , meanwhile, found hitting support from Wil Myers and Carlos Asuaje in winning Thursday, and oft-rumored trade chip Brad Hand struck out the side in the ninth inning after a leadoff infield single for his 24th save.
Nos. 2-3 hitters Asuaje and Myers had two hits and a triple apiece, and Myers drove in two runs. Asuaje, who also walked, scored twice. Asuaje has hit safely in all four games back after spending the previous six weeks in the minors because of the Padres’ glut of middle infielders.
“He’s had good at-bats,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “He’s put himself in position to earn more playing time. Whatever he makes of that opportunity is up to him.”
Godley is 9-6 with a 5.07 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP. He had a four-game winning streak broken in his last appearance, when he gave up seven runs and nine hits in a 9-6 loss to San Francisco on Sunday.
He beat the Padres in his only start against them this season, giving up two runs in a 6-2 victory on April 21. Golden has pitched well at home, going 4-2 with a 4.14 ERA in seven starts. He is 2-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 10 career appearances (seven starts) against the Padres.
Rookie Lucchesi, 4-3 with a 3.26 ERA, is to make his fourth start since returning from the disabled list with a right hip strain that kept him out for a month. He gave up four runs and five hits in his lone appearance against Arizona, a 4-2 loss April 22.
Included in Lucchesi’s repertoire is a combination changeup/curveball that has been dubbed a “churve.” He grips the pitch like a changeup but the pitch has the opposite break, down and in to a right-handed hitter instead of the true changeup movement of down and away. He also throws a true curve, which he has used more than the “churve” since his return.