Are the Astros finally starting to click? Is the World Series hangover over?
The Astros dominated the Chicago Cubs for the second straight night, hitting well tonight against a tough pitcher, and showing the kind of consistency in the bullpen that won them a World Championship last year. Tonight’s win was the Astros’ sixth in seven games and puts the team four games over .500 for the first time all year.
The Astros scored first, thanks almost single-handedly to Mauricio Dubon. He led off the first with a ground-rule double that hit the right field foul line, got to third on a Alex Bregman flyout, and scored on a wild pitch from Cubs starter Justin Steele.
Let's get wild. pic.twitter.com/QOndf1ZWOU— Houston Astros (@astros) May 17, 2023
The Cubs got the run back in the third inning on a Matt Mervis home run off Cristian Javier, the first of his career.
But the Astros blew it open in the fourth with an Alex Bregman hit by pitch, followed by doubles by Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, Corey Julks, and Chas McCormick, resulting in four runs and a 5-1 lead.
Back to back or whatever Drake said. pic.twitter.com/4tIrp8Xz2f— Houston Astros (@astros) May 17, 2023
Another double.@Adobe x #Ready2Reign pic.twitter.com/WbxHpa5C86— Houston Astros (@astros) May 17, 2023
4 in 1 special. pic.twitter.com/SVUFsqm3kQ— Houston Astros (@astros) May 17, 2023
Speaking of Chas. When is he going to get the love as a defensive CF?
CHAS pic.twitter.com/egXp1oNyly— Houston Astros (@astros) May 17, 2023
The Astros added two more runs in the seventh, started by a Martin Maldonado walk, a Dubon double, an Alex Bregman sac fly scoring Maldonado, and an Alvarez RBI single scoring Dubon. It was Dubon’s fifth hit in the first two games of this series. He is hitting .309 and doing it all in the field and base paths. The Alvarez single was the Astros’ seventh hit; all the rest up until then were doubles.
Astros pitching excelled, starting with Cristian Javier, who went six innings, allowing one run, two hits, and two walks with five strikeouts.
Phil Maton followed Javier with yet another scoreless inning of relief. His season ERA is 0.86.
Lefty Matt Gage got five outs before allowing a double to Christopher Morel, followed by a home run by Selya Suzuki. But Gage struck out Patrick Wisdom to end the threat and secure the Astros’7-3 win.
Besides Dubon, Alvarez and McCormick had two hit nights for the Stros.
The Astros have their brooms ready for the game tomorrow at Minute Maid. J.P. France goes for his second big-league win—game time 7:10 CT.
Box score HERE.