Astros celebrate 8th win in 9 games
(c) Associated Press
Jake Marisnick and Brian McCann drove in four runs apiece Tuesday night in a 12-2 win over the Marlins in Miami, helping Dallas Keuchel move to 7-0 on the season. The Astros used five singles to score three runs in the first inning and, with Keuchel on the mound, it felt like this one was already over.
But the Marlins scratched out a couple of runs of their own in the bottom of the inning to keep things interesting -- at least until the Astros came up to bat again.
The top of the second started out innocently enough, with Tom Koehler retiring the first two men that stepped into the batter's box. But then the Marlins' right-hander lost command of his pitches, walking three straight Astros to load the bases. Koehler's next pitch was over the heart of the plate and McCann lined it to deep rightfield past a leaping Giancarlo Stanton to clear the bases and stretch Houston's lead to 6-2.
More fireworks ensued in the third inning when Marisnick crushed a 2-run homer high off the home run sculpture in left-center to make it 8-2. Jake repeated the feat in the fifth with a 415-foot shot that was 35 feet short of his first blast but still managed to hit the 75-foot tall eyesore.
With an 8-run lead after five innings, A.J. Hinch felt comfortable enough to remove his ace starter from the game. Michael Feliz pitched a scoreless sixth and got the first out of the seventh. After walking Mike Aviles, Feliz was removed from the game in favor of left-hander Tony Sipp. The Astros most maligned reliever in the early part of the 2017 season responded with a stellar performance, tossing 2-2/3 hitless innings and striking out three to secure the victory for Keuchel.
The 12-2 blowout improved Houston's record to 28-12 giving them the best 40-game start in franchise history and an 8-game lead in the A.L. West standings.
Lance McCullers takes the hill Wednesday morning as the Astros go for the sweep against Jose Urena and the Marlins at 11:10 CDT.
- Greg Thurston