HOUSTON (AP) — With the bases loaded in the second inning Matt Dominguez’s long fly ball came up just short and was caught for a sacrifice fly.
When he had a second chance with the bases loaded again in the seventh, he didn’t miss.
Dominguez hit a grand slam and drove in a career-high five runs to back another solid performance by Jordan Lyles, and the Houston Astros rolled to a 10-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
“I just missed the pitch,” Dominguez said of the second inning. “I was fortunate with the same opportunity later. I got a good pitch to hit — put a good swing on it. So it’s definitely a pretty good feeling.”
Carlos Pena had a three-run homer and Chris Carter had two hits and drove in a run as the Astros won for the fifth time in six games.
The Astros have outscored their opponents 27-10 in the five wins in that span, an encouraging sign for this young team that has sputtered on offense this season.
“I think this is what we’re capable of doing,” Pena said. “I’m not talking about scoring 10 runs, but putting nice runs support up for our pitchers. If they go and do what they are supposed to and give us a quality start then we have a chance to win. Today is one of the days that we show our potential as a team. It definitely feels good to see it actually happen.”
The 22-year-old Lyles (4-1) yielded seven hits and one run over seven innings. It was his seventh straight start with two or less earned runs, which is the longest such streak in the American League this season.
Manager Bo Porter has been impressed with the development of Lyles, who started the season in Triple-A.
“It didn’t look like he even had his best stuff, but that was a great example of the maturity that has taken place with Jordan Lyles,” he said. “Being able to go seven innings and not really have his A stuff and just able to make quality pitch after quality pitch and grind his way through seven innings was really good to see.”
The Astros were up by one in the fifth when Pena broke an 0 for 17 skid when he launched his home run to chase Milwaukee starter Alfredo Figaro and extend the lead to 5-1. Dominguez’s first career grand slam was off Tom Gorzelanny and came in Houston’s five-run seventh.
Figaro (1-1) was unable to build on his last start when he pitched seven shutout innings in a win over Miami. He allowed five hits and four runs in a season-low 4 1-3 innings.
Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke was unhappy with his team’s defensive and pitching errors, but he was perhaps most upset by its inability to take advantage of opportunities on offense.
“We have chances and we don’t get people in,” he said of his team, which went three for 8 with runners in scoring position. “And that ball game is a lot different if we drive in the people when we have the opportunities to do it.”
Dominguez entered the game in a 0-for-7 slump before using his two hits to drive in five runs and give him 40 RBIs this season to pass Carter for the team lead. He has 10 homers in his last 35 games after not homering in his first 33 games this season.
Porter has been impressed with the offensive improvement of Dominguez this season, even though he’s hitting just .236.
“You look at the batting average and many people talk about average but this guy has been productive,” he said. “It’s somewhere close to 40 RBIs, 10 home runs and Gold Glove (caliber) third base. That’s a pretty good baseball player.”
J. D. Martinez reached on third baseman Yuniesky Betancourt’s second error of the game with one out in the seventh. Carter hit an RBI double off Burke Badenhop and he was replaced by Gorzelanny.
Gorzelanny struggled with control from the outset, plunking Pena before walking Justin Maxwell on four pitches to load the bases for Dominguez.
Dominguez gave Houston its first grand slam of the season when he hit a drive into the Crawford Boxes in left field.
Houston’s big offensive night got started when Martinez singled to start the second. Dominguez later hit a sacrifice fly.
Juan Francisco started the Milwaukee third with a triple which bounced on Tal’s Hill in center field. The Brewers tied it with a single by Scooter Gennett.
Jean Segura and Carlos Gomez hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out, but Lyles retired the next two batters to limit the damage.
Maxwell, in his first game back after breaking his left hand on April 23, walked and reached third on a single by Dominguez in the fourth. The Astros took a 2-1 lead when he scored on a bunt by Marwin Gonzalez.
Gomez made an acrobatic catch on the hill in center field to rob Jason Castro of a hit in the seventh inning.
NOTES: Castro celebrated his 26th birthday on Tuesday. … The series continues on Wednesday when Milwaukee’s Kyle Lohse opposes Erik Bedard. … The Astros traded minor league OF Fernando Martinez to the New York Yankees for minor league RHP Charles Basford.