Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Wyke/AP/Shutterstock (13425004l) Houston Astros’ Jeremy Pena (3) and Jose Altuve, right, celebrate the home run by Altuve against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the sixth inning of a baseball game, in Houston Diamondbacks Astros Baseball, Houston, United States – 27 Sep 2022
Blast off! Astros launch five homers as Houston kicks off final regular season homestand with 10-2 win over D-Backs.
The Astros are down to their final eight regular-season games, and they’ll play all of them at Minute Maid Park. Already securing a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the ALDS, the final homestand gives them a chance to get comfortable at home, where they’ll be on October 11th when that series gets started.
They looked right at home on Tuesday night, using a plethora of offense in the middle innings on their way to a lopsided 10-2 win over the Diamondbacks.
Altuve starts the scoring, Arizona strikes back
After a scoreless visitor’s half of the first, Jose Altuve started the home half with his twelfth leadoff homer of the year, staking Houston to an early 1-0 lead. They went on to load the bases that inning but could not do any more damage.
With originally scheduled starter Lance McCullers Jr. a scratch due to illness, Luis Garcia made the late start in his place. After two perfect innings, Geraldo Perdomo would tie the game with a solo homer off him in the top of the third.
Houston goes back in front as Garcia posts a quality start
Kyle Tucker helped get the Astros back on top in the bottom of the fourth. He worked a leadoff walk, then got into scoring position by stealing his 24th base of the season. He moved to third on a groundout, then scored on a sac fly by Trey Mancini, giving Houston a 2-1 advantage.
The Astros manufactured a run similarly in the bottom of the fifth, with a Jose Altuve leadoff double setting the table for a one-out RBI single by a pinch-hitting David Hensley, who entered for Yordan Alvarez, who rolled his ankle coming out of the batter’s box earlier in the game.
They then loaded the bases with one out, setting up Yuli Gurriel for an RBI fielder’s choice as he would beat out a throw to first to avoid a double play and make it 4-1. Luis Garcia held Arizona to one lone run through his six innings, giving him a quality start and making his final line 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 85 P.
Astros get the victory
Jose Altuve added another run to the lead with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, getting his second solo home run of the game to make it 5-1. Jeremy Peña followed with a single, bringing Hensley back to the plate, who then notched the first home run of his career and was immediately followed by a solo homer by Alex Bregman, pushing the lead to 8-1.
With Garcia’s night over, Houston turned to their bullpen to hold on to the seven-run lead in the final three innings. Hunter Brown took over in the top of the seventh, and despite one of his rougher innings where he issued two walks, he made it through unscathed by stranding the bases loaded.
Phil Maton gave up a leadoff solo homer in the top of the eighth, cutting the lead to 8-2 before he finished the inning by retiring the next three batters. Peña gave Houston double-digits and an eight-run lead in the bottom of the inning, getting his 20th home run of the season to make it 10-2. Maton returned and hurled a scoreless ninth to close out the victory.
News and notes
Homering to milestones: With his leadoff homer in the bottom of the first, Jose Altuve matched former teammate George Springer for the most (12) in a season. Jeremy Peña also made some history with his eighth-inning home run, giving him 20 on the year, just the sixth Astros rookie in franchise history to reach that mark.
Short series: The finale of this quick two-game set between Houston and Arizona will get underway at 7:10 PM Central Wednesday. It shapes up to be a strong pitching matchup, with Justin Verlander (17-4, 1.82 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite Zac Gallen (12-3, 2.46 ERA) for the D-Backs. Of note, the Astros have won their last three games following a win in which they scored double-digits.
Top seed in sight: With the Yankees winning on Tuesday night against the Blue Jays, the Astros could only move their magic number from 2 to 1 with their own victory. A win by Houston or a loss by New York on Wednesday will clinch the best record in the AL for the Astros.
Alvarez exits early: Yordan Alvarez left Tuesday’s game with left ankle discomfort, rolling it while leaving the batter’s box after his first-inning single. He remained in the game for another at-bat and would get replaced later in the game.