Despite losing club MVP Alex Bregman to a hamstring injury in yesterday’s contest, the Astros offense was able to follow up Wednesday’s big performance with another today, managing two five run frames to power the team to victory in Colorado. Rookie hurler Cristian Javier got the start and had a bit of an adventure, but was able to limit the damage enough to hold the significant lead he was spotted.
The fireworks started early for the Astros, as they pounced on Rockies starter German Marquez in the second inning, putting together a barrage of hits that ended in a five-spot. Josh Reddick started the party with a leadoff single before coming around to score on a Kyle Tucker triple, which turned into a big rally when four consecutive Astros reached with two outs. Taylor Jones kept the inning alive with a walk, which was followed by consecutive singles from Martin Maldonado and George Springer before Jose Altuve brought both of them home with his first extra base hit of the year, a double.
The Rockies were able to put together a bit of a retaliation in the bottom of the inning, as Daniel Murphy led off with a single before Ryan McMahon brought him home on a two-run homer. Javier was able to settle in and retire the next three batters, though, and headed to the third with a 5-2 lead. The Astros went down in order in the top, and Javier surrendered a solo shot to Nolan Arenado to close the gap to 5-3, also allowing a base hit in the inning. The Astros again went down quietly in the fourth as Marquez retired them in order, and Javier was unable to complete his next inning of work. He allowed a leadoff infield hit to Sam Hilliard, and then walked Raimel Tapia after retiring Tony Wolters. He bounced back with a strikeout of Trevor Story, but was then promptly lifted in favor of Brooks Raley, who rung up Charlie Blackmon to end the frame.
In the fifth, the Astros offense mustered another explosion, which was catalyzed by two straight hits from Altuve and Correa to lead off the inning. Yuli Gurriel brought home Altuve on a single with one out, moving Correa to third, and then Kyle Tucker came through again with a base hit to score another run. From there, Bregman replacement Abraham Toro came up with the second biggest hit of his career thus far, a three run bomb to right which extended the lead to 10-3. Again, the Rockies rebounded with a two run home run off the bat of Ryan McMahon in the bottom to cut the lead, but Raley escaped the frame without further damage.
After a quite frame from the Astros, the Rockies put together another little rally in the bottom of the sixth, as a walk to Raimel Tapia and a Trevor Story double set the table for Charlie Blackmon to bring home two runs on a base hit, putting the Rockies back within striking distance at 10-7, but neither team was able to manage any offense in the seventh or eighth innings. After the Astros went down 1-2-3 in the top of the 9th, Ryan Pressly came on for a save opportunity, and promptly let up a cheeky triple to Sam Hilliard, who would then score on a Matt Kemp groundout to cut the deficit to two, but Pressly was able to settle down and retire the next two batters quickly to end the game and secure his third save on the year and complete a four game sweep.
Somehow, it was the eighth consecutive victory for the Astros, who now sit at 15-10 and two games back of the West-leading A’s. It’ll be tough for them to keep things rolling in the absence of Alex Bregman, but Thursday’s victory shows that they’re still capable of doing damage without him in the lineup. Their next tilt comes on Friday night in San Diego, where they will send Lance McCullers Jr. to the mound. The Padres have not yet announced their starting pitcher for the game.