Well this is more like it.
Yeah, it was great to see Carlos Correa get his sixth walk-off hit in his career Saturday night, leading the major leagues since 2015, sealing the Astros 4-3 win over the Kansas Royals on national TV. This after a 1-0 loss the previous night.
But this is the World Champion Houston Astros, no World Series hangover for these champions, who now lead the AL West by four and a half games, and have the most wins in MLB with 52. The Astros are dominant. They have scored the second highest number of runs in MLB, and given up the fewest. And these Royals; they have given up the most runs, and scored the fewest.
So today’s 11-3 victory seemed to restore the balance of nature. The lion doesn’t just nibble daintily at the helpless lamb, he devours it, and leaves only the bones. The cat may play, but then he slays. The insolent Royals were sent home in humility, embarrassed by the merciless new kings of the baseball jungle.
Yuli Gurriel had a whole game in the second inning alone. He opened with a double, and after the bases were loaded, scored on a catcher’s interference against Tony Kemp. Another run would score on an Alex Bregman walk, and two more after that with a Jose Altuve single.
With Gerrit Cole on the mound and an excellent Astros bullpen behind him, a four run 2nd inning seemed like it would do the trick for the day. But there was still some meat on those Royal bones when Yuli Gurriel came to bat again in the inning with two outs and the bases loaded.
Deep Crawford Boxes grand slam! His second home run in two nights, after having only one other the whole rest of the season.
Is Yuli finally recovered from his hamate injury? If so, watch out AL. He is already one of only 12 qualifying American League hitters with a batting average over .300, and if his power game is returning, then the Astros add yet another potent bat from last year’s arsenal to fortify their already impressive dominance.
In the last two games Gurriel is 5-9, with 5 RBI, 3 runs scored, two home runs, and two doubles. Crush City. And even his outs have roared.
The Astros’ eight run second was the most runs the Astros have scored in an inning this year.
In the 8th inning, wanting his share of the kill, Evan Gattis added a pinch hit home run, his 15th.
Defensively the Astros got another creditable performance from starting pitching, this time form Gerrit Cole, who got his ninth win. He struggled with control at times, a recent trend, giving up three walks in five innings. He required 104 pitches to get through those five, seeming to have trouble putting away Royals batters, who had 27 foul balls. Still Cole got eight strike outs, and fifteen swing and misses. He surrendered one run, a homer to designated hitter Lucas Duda, just back from DL.
Collin McHugh, last night’s winning pitcher, gave up a run, unearned, in two innings, followed by Tony Sipp in the eighth. Sipp gave up his first run in fourteen outings on a hit by pitch, two weakly hit singles, and a sac fly.
Ken Giles finished the game with a perfect ninth.
The Astros continue their home stand tomorrow against the Toronto Blue Jays. Justin Verlander (9-2, 1.60 ERA) goes against the Blue Jays ace and former Astro J. A. Happ (9-3, 3.53 ERA)
For inquiring minds. Why did Alex Bregman shave off his mustache during the game?
Game time 7:10 CDT.
Box Score and videos here.