For those who sat through the entire night at Minute Maid Park on Monday, they could say they were there to watch the Astros tie their club record for consecutive wins. Houston edged Tampa Bay, 5-4, on a two-run walk-off double by Alex Bregman placed deftly into left center field that plated Marwin Gonzalez and Max Stassi in the bottom of the ninth when Houston was two outs away from watching their winning streak come to an end.
Crane, Luhnow shake over new deal
(c) Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle
Gerrit Cole allowed just three hits over seven innings but he walked five and gave up four runs. Tampa had a 4-0 lead after three.
Tampa starter Ryan Stanek left after just 1-2/3rd innings forcing the bullpen to eat a lot of innings and they came close to making it stand up. The Astros finally broke through in the fourth when Jose Altuve singled and Carlos Correa lined a double to center. Yuli Gurriel beat out an infield hit that pushed Altuve across the plate then Josh Reddick lofted a sac fly to get Correa home and make it a 4-2 deficit.
Altuve got the offense clicking again in the sixth with a double, advancing to third on an error by the left fielder. One out later, Gurriel singled him home again and the Astros were down by just one.
A scoring opportunity vanished in the eighth with Altuve at third and just one out. The Astros had one last chance in the ninth against Sergio Romo.
Gonzalez led off with a walk and Stassi moved him up with a base hit. Tony Kemp bunted them to third and second, respectively. George Springer reached base on catchers interference before Bregman spanked a 1-1 slider as mayhem ensued on and off the field before what remained of 34,151 that saw the thriller.
Houston moved to two games ahead of idle Seattle who now opens a series at Yankee Stadium. Meanwhile, the 49-25 Astros go for the record Tuesday night at 7:10 pm Central behind Justin Verlander (9-2) as he faces lefty Blake Snell (8-4).
Before the game, owner Jim Crane announced that General Manager Jeff Luhnow, credited with rebuilding the organization from the ground up, was given the title of "President of Baseball Operations and General Manager" while signing a five-year contract extension that runs through 2023. We presume there's a pay raise involved but the team was mum about the numbers.
Breaking another franchise record for wins would certainly embellish his credentials that much more.
- Bob Hulsey