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Astros Dominate First-Place Orioles, 8-2

Tucker does it again, But Altuve and Bregman combine for five RBI

MLB: Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros have the momentum.

Especially Kyle Tucker.

Tucker started tonight where he left off yesterday, hitting a first-inning, two-run homer about where his grand slam landed last night.

But it wasn’t all about Tucker tonight. The Astros raked. Especially Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, who both had three hits, and added three and two RBI, respectively.

In the second inning, the Astros added a run against Orioles starter Jack Flaherty on Altuve’s first single, scoring Jose Abreu, who plowed through Gary Pettis’ stop sign to score.

Meanwhile, Astros starter Cristian Javier managed to hold the Orioles to two runs in five innings, allowing only a two-run home run to Austin Hays in the fourth. However, he struggled more than the run count indicates.

He needed 105 pitches to go five innings, and only 62 were strikes. He allowed four hits and three walks with only three strikeouts. He only got ten swinging strikes, but the Orioles stayed in at-bats with 24 foul balls. Javier has lost his put-away pitch. Luckily for Javier, the Orioles were 0-5 with runners in scoring position while he pitched. (0-7 for the game with ten runners left on base)

Nonetheless, Javier departed after the fifth inning with a 3-2 lead, and in a relatively high-leverage situation, Dusty Baker took a chance on sending in the Astros’ shakiest reliever, Rafael Montero. Montero responded with a scoreless sixth inning.

The Astros wasted several good scoring opportunities, leaving the bases loaded in the second and fifth innings. However, in the eighth inning, the Astros loaded the bases again with two outs after three walks by reliever Shintaro Fujinami.

This time the boys came through. Jose Altuve plopped a hit-em-where-they-ain’t line drive over first base for a two-run single. He then stole second, and he and Martin Maldonado scored on an Alex Bregman single. Both Bregman and Altuve finished the game with three hits each.

In the eighth inning, the Astros pitchers imitated the wildness of the Orioles’ Fujinami. Bryan Abreu loaded the bases with one out, allowing a hit and two walks. But he got Hays to fly out to short right field and Jordan Westfield to ground out. This time, it was the Orioles who left the bases loaded.

In the ninth, the Astros added an insurance run on a Chas McCormick double followed by a Jeremy Pena RBI single. (McCormick was earlier robbed of a homer by center fielder Hays.)

After the miracle comeback last night, the Astros looked like their old dominant selves tonight, accruing 11 hits and stomping the AL's first-place team into dust. Tomorrow the Astros go for the sweep in Baltimore behind Hunter Brown.

Game time 11:35.

With their loss this afternoon, the Astros are only two games behind the Texas Rangers.

Box score HERE