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The Houston Astros‘ offense looks to be back on track.
After totaling 21 runs in their previous seven games Mike Hughes Color Rush Jersey , the World Series champs have scored in double-figures in each of their last two.
Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman each homered and Charlie Morton won his 11th as the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 12-6 Saturday for their fifth straight win.
”I think we’re swinging the bats well and playing good baseball,” Bregman said. ”I think offensively, we have a done a good job of passing the baton to the next guy, and if we continue to do that, we will be successful.”
Morton (11-2) allowed five runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has won four of his last five starts.
”I feel bad for Charlie because he got a little nickel and dimed at the end with a few soft hits and an ill-timed walk and then a well-placed, bases-clearing double,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”I thought his stuff was really good at the end. . That saying that he pitched better than the line indicates, that’s going to be the day today. Still a winning pitcher, still a guy that gave us a chance to win.”
James Shields (3-10) allowed a season high-tying eight runs on a season-high 10 hits with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for the White Sox, who have lost four straight. Shields had allowed one run over his prior two starts.
”Just wasn’t my day today,” Shields said. ”I’m just not really happy about not going deep in the game. I’m really trying to save this bullpen. These guys are taxed. I really wanted the ball and be that guy to go deeper in the game.”
Gurriel, who also had an RBI single in the eighth, hit a three-run homer to left field to increase Houston’s lead to 4-0 in the third inning.
Josh Reddick had a run-scoring fielder’s choice and Evan Gattis added an RBI single to push the Astros’ advantage to 6-1 in the fifth. However, Matt Davidson had an RBI single with the bases loaded and Omar Narvaez followed with a three-run double to pull Chicago within one in the sixth, chasing Morton.
Bregman’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning extended Houston’s lead back to three.
”A 2-0 count, I was trying to get something over the middle of the plate,” Bregman said. ”I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it.”
Bregman finished a triple shy of the cycle to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
”He’s doing everything right in the batter’s box as far as seeing the ball Marcus Davenport Color Rush Jersey , his selectiveness, his approach is A-plus,” Hinch said. ”Bat-to-ball has been exceptional.”
Max Stassi hit an RBI double in the second and an RBI single in the eighth for the Astros. Marwin Gonzalez added an RBI single in the seventh as every Houston starter had a hit. Houston won 11-4 Friday night.
”It’s an excellent ball club, let’s face it they’ve got guys that swing the bat up and down the lineup,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said of the Astros. ”They’ve got an air of confidence that they play with, which comes with the things that they’ve accomplished. It’s natural.”
Avisail Garcia hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a solo home run on to the train tracks in left in the eighth for Chicago. Garcia has five home runs in his last six games.
The Astros promoted top prospect, outfielder Kyle Tucker from Triple-A Fresno. Tucker, who was named to the Pacific Coast League’s All Star team, was hitting .306 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs. He went 1 for 4 with a single and run scored in the seventh and an RBI walk in the eighth to go along with three strikeouts. The Astros optioned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Fresno in a corresponding move.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson returned to the lineup. Anderson was out Friday after being hit on the left forearm the previous day. Anderson went 0 for 4 and reached on an error in the fifth.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (5-7) will make his 18th start of the season in the series finale. Giolito is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last eight stars and gave up nine runs in two innings in his last start against the Astros on April 21.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-8) is looking for his third straight win. Keuchel allowed two runs over seven innings in his last start Tuesday against the Rangers.
Sooner or later, the Cincinnati Reds will get the message: Be careful pitching to Eric Thames.
Reds right-hander Sal Romano, who opposes Thames and the first-place Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night at Great American Ball Park, already knows the dangers of making a mistake to the power hitter who torments Cincinnati like no other.
Thames beat Romano and the Brewers 2-0 with a two-run home run on April 17. Not satisfied with that, Thames beat the Reds — and this time, Tyler Mahle — with yet another two-run home run in a 2-0 decision the very next day on April 18.
Flash forward to Thursday night, and the Reds — the NL’s hottest team coming in with nine wins in 10 games — are leading 4-2 with two out and two on in the seventh inning. Amir Garrett, especially tough on left-handed hitters, is on the mound. Yet Garrett gave Thames a too-good pitch to hit Saquon Barkley Color Rush Jersey , and the result was a decisive three-run home run, and the Brewers went on to win 6-4.
“That was a huge hit,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We were down two (runs) there and Garrett’s been really good. It was a good win. We had a lot of guys do a lot. We had big at-bats in big situations.”
Jesus Aguilar added a tying two-run homer, his 19th, off Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani in the third inning after Cincinnati had gone ahead 2-0 in the first.
For Thames, it was his third consecutive game against Cincinnati with a game-winning homer and it also was his 13th homer, to go with 24 RBIs, in only 20 career games against the NL Central rival Reds. The three homers represent his only three hits against the Reds this season; overall, he’s hit only .234.
Thames hadn’t homered off a left-hander all season, although he had only 13 prior at-bats against lefties. However, he has handled Garrett, homering off him the last three times he’s faced him.
His numbers against the Reds the last two seasons are remarkable: 13 homers, including 10 homers and 17 RBIs in 17 games last season.
“Thames has really done damage against us, last year and this year,” Reds interim manager Jim Riggleman said. “We don’t have an answer for him. He’s really hurt us.”
As have the Brewers. They came in with six losses in their previous 10 games, but they’re off to a good start in the four-game series, especially given that the Reds had won 12 of their previous 15 despite being in last place. Milwaukee has won six of seven from Cincinnati this season.
The Reds not only haven’t solved how to beat the Brewers Sam Darnold Color Rush Jersey , neither has Romano (4-7). He’s pitched well in two of his last three starts overall, but he’s 0-4 with a 6.27 ERA in four career starts against the Brewers. Ryan Braun gives him trouble, going 5-of-10 (.500) with one homer against him.
The Brewers, who lead the Chicago Cubs by 2 1-2 games in the NL Central, will send out right-hander Chase Anderson (5-6), who has had success against the Reds. He’s 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA against them in eight starts, beating them 7-6 on May 1 despite giving up four runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings.
One reason for that success is Anderson’s ability to shut down some of the Reds’ top hitters. Eugenio Suarez, who leads the NL with 59 RBIs, is only 2-for-13 (.154) against him, and Scooter Gennett, who leads the league with a .331 average, is 2-for-7 (.286).
The Brewers lost center fielder Christian Yelich to lower back tightness in the first inning Thursday, and it’s been a problem he’s had in the past. His status for Friday and the rest of the series is uncertain.
“It looks like this one is not as bad,” said Yelich, who is hitting .289. “It’s frustrating. We’ll know more in a day or so. Hopefully, we can take care of it.”