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Altuve, Peña, and Verlander avoid sweep! Astros snap losing streak with a 9-4 win

José Altuve delivered a late, three-run home run to lift the Astros with help of another Jeremy Peña bomb and a Justin Verlander masterful outing.

Miami Marlins v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

On Sunday afternoon, José Altuve had a pretty good game offensively to propel the Astros 9-4 over the Marlins and avoid being swept.

Altuve’s effort –which included a three-run homer in the eighth— combined with good contributions from rookie Jeremy Peña and living legend Justin Verlander to give the Astros their first win since Tuesday (lost three in a row).

The game presented itself as an interesting pitching duel between Verlander and rookie Edward Cabrera. And it certainly was so until the fourth inning, when the Astros’ offense got Cabrera’s number. Already up in the score 1-0, Houston enjoyed a two-run round-tripper by Peña and one RBI by Michael Brantley and Yordan Álvarez each. Peña’s long ball was his ninth of the season, but just his second in his last 22 games.

Verlander, who didn’t allow a hit until a Miguel Rojas single in the fourth, faced trouble in the seventh after two errors by Peña and Altuve. In the same inning, former Astro Bryan De La Cruz deposited the ball into the seats for a three-run home run to make things 5-4 and close the gap between both teams.

JV finished his night after the final out of that inning. He went seven strong innings and allowed only three hits and four unearned runs. Plus, the 39-year-old gave up a walk and struck out five Marlins. Those results were good enough for Verlander’s major league-leading eighth win of the campaign – his 1.94 ERA sits as the third-best in the American League.

In the eighth was when Altuve’s magic happened. The Astros kicked off the inning with Peña being hit by a pitch and a single from Jason Castro. Then, after one out, Altuve went deep for the 12th time this season (his second four-bagger of the month) to give the Astros a more-comfortable 9-4 lead.

It was a matter of time for Houston to reach its 37th victory of the campaign. Héctor Neris and Ryan Pressly got the final six outs and that was it. On Monday, the Astros will visit the Rangers for a three-game series at Globe Life Field. Cristian Javier will have the ball to start after allowing six hits and five runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Mariners last Monday.