Houston Astros Alex Bregman (2) celebrates his run scored on a single by Yuli Gurriel during the sixth inning of an MLB game at Minute Maid Park, Saturday, September 15, 2018, in Houston.
Photo: Karen Warren/Staff Photographer
Photo: Karen Warren/Staff Photographer
Astros bounce back to thump Diamondbacks
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The Astros got tired of waiting to come up with a breakthrough hit that could make Diamondbacks starter Zack Godley pay for his mistakes on Saturday at Minute Maid Park.
Godley gifted three hits and six walks in the first three innings, but the Astros only eked out two runs. They left six runners on base. They were hitless in four chances with runners in scoring position. One of their hits was Josh Reddick's solo home run.
Stellar pitching – which Charlie Morton provided Saturday – and unexpected production from benchwarmers-turned-starters have compensated for Houston's inconsistent offense at Minute Maid Park this season. The Astros lead in scoring and batting average on the road, but they are middling at home.
In the fourth inning, the Astros (93-55) got aggressive and, as a result, might have generated the luck needed to expand a 10-4 victory over the Diamondbacks (78-71).
A single, a hit-and-run and shrewd base running on a fielder's choice put George Springer on third and Jose Altuve on second with two outs.
Then, Marwin Gonzalez came through where his teammates had not. He sent a line drive deep to right field. Steven Souza Jr. appeared to lose sight of the ball. It nicked Souza's glove and bounced to the wall. Springer and Altuve scored.
Yuli Gurriel followed with a single through the right side of the infield. Gonzalez went for third. Souza raced in, lowered his glove and overran the ball. Gonzalez peddled for home and Gurriel reached third to push the Astros ahead 5-1.
Souza squatted in the grass and hung his head after each blunder. Godley would not finish the inning.
Houston continued to apply pressure until Arizona collapsed.
In the sixth, with Springer and Altuve on base again, Alex Bregman lined a comebacker off righthander Silvino Bracho. Bracho overthrew first base, letting Springer score and keeping runners in scoring position.
Gurriel's bases-clearing single up the middle gave the Astros an 8-2 lead. His three RBIs Saturday raised his total to 74.
An inning later, Springer shot a ball into right-center and Reddick, who had been on first, sprinted for third without breaking stride. Reddick arrived safely and drew a throw from the outfield that let Springer scurry to second base.
After the Astros had squandered several opportunities at the start, Altuve delivered the team's fourth hit with runners in scoring position. He drove in Reddick and Springer with a double.
The cushiony lead offered a chance for call-up Myles Straw to make his debut. He pinch ran for Altuve.
Out of 12 hits, only Reddick's 14th home run and Altuve's double were for extra bases. Springer had four singles. Bregman, who had a single and two walks, extended his on-base streak to 41 games.
Morton (15-3, 3.15 ERA) made his second start since coming off the disabled list. He gave up two earned runs and struck out seven batters in six innings to earn his 15th victory, a new career high.
He made far fewer mistakes than his counterpart, Godley, but Morton bemoaned them because he made them before the game became a blowout.
After he started the fourth by hitting A.J. Pollock in the back, Morton looked up into the roof and squeezed his eyes shut, knowing the leadoff runner could score with the middle of Arizona's lineup due up. He managed to keep Arizona to one earned run on David Peralta's sacrifice fly.
Morton's other blemish was a solo home run he allowed to Ketel Marte, which cut the score to 5-2 in the fifth.
In the eighth, Chris Devenski surrendered Eduardo Escobar's seventh home run.
Brad Peacock pitched for the first time since missing three games because of hand, foot and mouth disease. He looked rusty in the ninth. He needed 24 pitches. He gave up the final run on two hits and a walk.