It took almost two months of the season but the Astros have notched their first series sweep of the 2016 campaign. Luis Valbuena stayed hot with his third homer in as many games and George Springer went deep twice during a 4-2 victory Thursday night at Minute Maid. This was also the first three-game winning streak all year.
Springer: Knows it's gone
(c) Associated Press
Springer's first dinger, off Kevin Gausman, led off the bottom of the first and plunked the community leaders sign above the Crawfords in left. His 11th homer of the season, which leads the club, sailed over the railroad tracks in the fifth.
Valbuena's homer came off Gausman in the second after the Oriole pitcher had walked Tyler White. The drive sailed into the seats in right.
Baltimore's Mark Trumbo powered a homer to left off Lance McCullers in the second while the final tally came with two outs in the ninth on a single by Manny Machado.
McCullers picked up his first win of the season, allowing just one run and one hit in five innings although he walked six and struck out ten. Ken Giles worked the ninth for his first save. The player the Astros gave up five players to get in trade this winter paid his first dividend at long last.
Michael Feliz and Will Harris tossed three scoreless innings in between while fanning five to give the Astros 15 strikeout on the night. Houston batters whiffed 13 times on their own. The Astros set a big league mark with 52 strikeouts in a three-game series, a record I credit the free-swinging Orioles with more than the Astros. If Kellogg's doesn't have a Special K promotion when these two clubs meet again in August, they're missing a golden opportunity.
Springer has been hot since being moved to the leadoff part of the order but Jose Altuve has hit worse in the number two hole, although Mighty Mouse produced a single after a pair of oh-fers the previous two nights.
The 20-28 Astros now try to climb out of their last-place position with a three-game weekend set at The Big A in Anaheim. Mike Fiers (3-2) will pitch against Matt Shoemaker (2-5) in a battle of the beards. The game time is 9:05 Central against the 21-26 Angels.
- Bob Hulsey