Apr 30, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (2) celebrates with center fielder Jake Meyers (6) after scoring a run during the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Astros avoided the series sweep and snapped the Philadelphia Phillies’ four-game winning streak with a 4-3 victory on Sunday Night Baseball. Houston (15-13) never trailed in the victory.
Runs come early for Astros
Houston’s bats were active from the beginning. The Astros loaded the bases in the first inning on left-handed pitcher Bailey Falter. Shortstop Jeremy Peña reached first base with a single, and both third baseman Alex Bregman and left fielder Yordan Álvarez drew walks.
First baseman José Abreu grounded into a double play, but it allowed Peña to score from third base to give Houston a 1-0 lead. Philadelphia catcher J.T. Realmuto tied things up in the top of the second inning with a solo home run, but the Astros took the lead back in the bottom of the inning.
Maldonado delivers for Houston
David Hensley, who was Houston’s designated hitter on Sunday, doubled to open the second inning. Falter countered with two strikeouts, which set the stage for Houston catcher Martín Maldonado.
Entering Sunday’s game, Maldonado had just eight hits in 61 at-bats. Maldonado put those numbers to the side against the Phillies (15-14). He delivered a ground-rule double on a line drive toward right field that allowed Hensley to score from second base.
Maldonado also hit a single in the fourth inning. It was his first multi-hit game since April 14 against the Texas Rangers.
The Astros increased their advantage to 3-1 in the fourth inning with a solo home run from center fielder Jake Meyers.
Philadelphia cut Houston’s lead to one in the fifth inning on a solo home run by Kody Clemens, his second of the weekend series, but the Astros once again countered in the bottom of the inning.
Bregman drew a lead-off walk that was followed by a softly hit infield groundball toward third base that allowed Bregman to advance to second and Álvarez to reach first base.
Right fielder Kyle Tucker brought Bregman home to score on a bloop fly ball to left field that landed in just the perfect spot between left fielder Kyle Schwarber and shortstop Trea Turner giving the Astros a 4-2 edge.
Relievers close the door
Starting pitcher José Urquidy gave up two earned runs and struck out three batters in 5.1 innings against Philadelphia. The right-handed pitcher’s night ended early after suffering an injury in the sixth inning.
Reliever Hector Neris finished the sixth inning. Right-handed pitcher Rafael Montero took over the seventh inning. Neither of them gave up a run. Neris struck out one batter, and Montero punched out two.
Right-handed pitcher Bryan Abreu gave up one unearned run in the eighth inning, which cut Houston’s lead to 4-3. Bregman could not field a bouncing ground ball hit by Realmuto toward him, which allowed Kyle Schwarber to score from second base. Schwarber reached first base with a lead-off walk.
Right-handed pitcher Ryan Pressly shut the door in the ninth inning. He got all three of Philadelphia’s batters out, including striking out Clemens, to notch the save.
News and Notes
• Tucker and Maldonado were the only Houston players with multiple hits on Sunday.
• Rylan Bannon played second base for Houston in the win. He went 0-for-3 in his at-bats.
Urquidy left Sunday’s game in the sixth inning following his 84th pitch. The right-hander’s final throw sailed too far right, and he left with visible discomfort. After the game, manager Dusty Baker said Urquidy had right shoulder soreness and will see a doctor on Monday.
Michael Brantley and Chas McCormick could be back with the Astros by May 9. Baker said José Altuve is progressing as planned, but the team is being cautious with the second baseman.
The Astros begin a three-game home series against the San Francisco Giants. Luis Garcia (2-2, 4.00 ERA) is expected to start for Houston on Monday. He will face off against Ross Stripling.