Astros bats went wild in the first game of the series against the Diamondbacks. The Stros unleashed five homers, and six players had double-digit hits, including Jose Altuve, who had two homers, a double, two RBI, and four runs scored.
Altuve did his thing yet again to open the game for the Astros. He took a 2-0 pitch from D-back starter Zach Davies into the Crawford Boxes, his 27th of the year and 12th leadoff homer. That number ties Altuve with George Springer for the most leadoff homers in a season by an Astro.
The D-backs tied the game on a Geraldo Perdomo solo homer in the third, the only run the Rattlers would get off surprise starter Luis Garcia.
Garcia was as sharp as he has been all year, no doubt making his case for inclusion on the playoff roster. Garcia went six innings, allowed four hits (one a swinging bunt), and allowed no walks with six strikeouts.
The Astros added a run in the fourth inning on a hard-hit Trey Mancini sac fly, although Manini stranded the bases loaded in the first and fifth innings. Mancini hit in Kyle Tucker, who walked, stole second (24, 7th in the AL), and landed on third on a Yuli Gurriel groundout to get himself in scoring position for Mancini.
The Stros added two more runs in the fifth, this time starting with a Jose Altuve double, followed by a Jeremy Pena walk. Altuve scored on a David Hensley single (replacing Yordan Alvarez, who apparently suffered a slight ankle sprain) Pena then scored on an Alex Bregman single.
The Astros broke the game open with a mighty power surge in the sixth inning, all after two outs. Altuve hit his second solo homer, and then Hensley and Bregman hit back-to-back dingers, Hensley’s scoring Jeremy Pena. For Bregman, it was his 22nd homer, and for Hensley, it was the first of his career.
First career home run for David Hensley! pic.twitter.com/QzZfS3pGee— Houston Astros (@astros) September 28, 2022
Hunter Brown pitched a scoreless seventh for the Stros, although he had to pitch out of a bases-loaded jam for his second straight appearance.
Phil Maton pitched the eighth inning and allowed the D-backs their second run, a solo homer by Daulton Varsho.
But Jeremy Pena did not let the D-backs stay within six. His twentieth homer with a man on expanded the Astros’ lead to 10-2. He is only the sixth Astro rookie to achieve 20 homers, joining Glenn Davis, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, George Springer, and Carlos Correa.
The Astros had fourteen hits and five walks. According to Statcast, they hit 14 hard-hit balls.
Jose Altuve is on a tear as the playoffs approach. In the last eight games, he has 14 hits, two doubles, four homers, and fourteen runs scored. Before tonight, his wRC+ in those games was 274. Before this streak, Altuve’s batting average was .286. Now he is within a hair of .300, sitting at .298. If his current season wRC+ of 163 stands, it will be the highest of his career.
Tomorrow Justin Verlander is scheduled for the Astros. Game time 7:10.