Today was the first time the Astros were live on Roots Sports Southwest. I can probably speak for most fans who didn't have comcast, it was glorious. The Astros marked the occasion by scoring 13 runs. I marked the occasion by playing the opening song from the Lion King as the first pitch was thrown. It seemed appropriate.
Getting back to the game, the Astros faced Jeff Locke who is fighting for a rotation spot in Pittsburgh. Locke kept the Astros off the board for two inning, but that wasn't the case in the third. Robbie Grossman, as part of his 2-for-2 day, started the Astros offensive rally with a single. George Springer and Chris Carter followed with back-to-back doubles to score two. The fireworks weren't done. Jason Castro put his sweet lefty swing on a ball, which resulted in a two-run home run to put the Astros up 4-0.
Roberto Hernandez started for the Astros on Tuesday. He worked around a single and walk through two innings to keep the game scoreless. In the third, Hernandez gave up back-to-back singles to third baseman Josh Harrison and catcher Francisco Cervelli with one out. Pirates second baseman Neil Walker deposited a pitch on to the boardwalk beyond right field fence for a three-run home run. The score was now 4-3 Astros through three innings.
The Astros responded by loading the bases and running Jeff Locke from the game to start the fourth. George Springer, Chris Carter, and Jason Castro hit three-straight doubles off new pitcher Deolis Guerra. Guerra, a long time Twins farm hand, is non-roster invite in Pirates camp. The score was now 9-3 Astros.
Alex White relieved Roberto Hernandez in the fourth. White worked out of a bases loaded jam to keep Pittsburgh off the board. White stayed in the game in the firth, Gregory Polanco leadoff the inning with a walk and a stolen base. A Neal Walker popup turned into a double as Marwin Gonzalez wasn't able to squeeze the ball in his mit while looking into the Florida sun. Matt Dominguez turned a sure two-run single for Starling Marte into a diving catch freezing the runners.
Pedro Alvarez drove home a run with a sac fly to left, the Astros lead 9-4 through five. White through over 50 pitches to get through his two innings of work.
Some kid named Carlos Correa added to the Astros lead with an opposite field home run in the sixth.
Dan Straily pitched a scoreless sixth, but struggled in the seventh. Opening the inning with a two walks and single, Gustavo Nunez brought home a run on a ground out. L.J. Hoes gunned down a runner at home after Steve Lombardozzi singled to left. The PIrates added two on a Elias Diaz single. Straily escaped with a strikeout of Jung Ho Kong to keep the damage to three runs. Straily finished with a line of 2IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 4 BB, and 2 wild pitches.
Correa Correa would add another RBI in the eighth, with a single to score L.J. Hoes. Tyler Heineman grounded out, allowing Colin Moran to score for the Astros' thirteenth and final run. Lance McCullers Jr. and James Hoyt each pitched a scoreless inning to complete game for the Astros.
In total the Astros had 13 hits, eight extra-base hits, and were 7-for-18 with runners in scoring position. Robbie Grossman was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and a walk, George Springer was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, Chris Carter was 3-for-3 with four RBIs, and Jason Castro was 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
The Astros take on the Mets split squad on Wednesday at 12:10 PM CT.