George Springer is a big reason why the Houston Astros are on the brink of their longest winning streak in nearly four years.
Jose Altuve is another.
Springer and Altuve look to continue their impressive production as the Astros go for a seven-game winning streak Friday night against the Baltimore Orioles.
Springer is hitting .390 with 17 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak. He has seven homers over the past seven games, including a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh inning that lifted Houston (23-32) to a 3-1 win Thursday in the opener of this four-game set.
His 10 homers are a team rookie record for the month of May. His power surge has helped put the Astros on the cusp of their first seven-game winning streak since July 27-Aug. 3, 2010.
"What a guy," manager Bo Porter said. "It’s been pretty impressive. It’s fun to watch. It’s almost must-see TV.
"He’s an exciting player. At any moment, he can change the game with one swing. It doesn’t matter if he’s 0 for 3 or 3 for 3, he has the ability to impact the game every time he steps into the batter’s box."
Springer is giving some of the credit for his success to Altuve, who bats before him in the leadoff spot.
"He’s always on base, and with him on base, I understand that he’s a threat," Springer said. "With him on base, if they miss, I have to hit it."
Altuve is hitting .404 with 17 runs in 21 games, going 15 for 35 during an eight-game hitting streak after collecting three hits in the series opener.
That type of production may only continue since the second baseman is 16 for 33 in eight career meetings with Baltimore (26-26).
The Astros are expected to turn to Brett Oberholtzer (1-6, 5.32 ERA), who is trying to build on his first win since Sept. 1.
The left-hander had a career-high eight strikeouts while allowing three runs – two earned – in six innings of a 9-4 win at Seattle on Saturday, hours after being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. That performance ended his personal 10-game losing streak over his previous 11 starts, which included a 4.55 ERA.
Oberholtzer was superb in his only previous meeting with the Orioles on July 31, allowing three hits in seven innings of an 11-0 road victory.
Miguel Gonzalez (3-3, 4.35) took the loss opposite Oberholtzer in that meeting, giving up nine runs and two homers in 3 2-3 innings.
The right-hander was much better against the Astros on May 10, yielding two runs in seven innings of a 5-4 win in 10.
Gonzalez has won his last two trips to the mound, allowing two runs over six innings in each contest. He held Cleveland to four hits in a 4-2 victory Sunday, working around a season high-tying four walks and one hit batter.
Springer went 2 for 3 with a homer and double against Gonzalez earlier this month, while Altuve is 1 for 5 lifetime in their matchups.
Thursday’s loss was the third straight for the Orioles, who have dropped 12 of 18 since a season-best five-game win streak.
"It’s not always going to click together," manager Buck Showalter said. "I have a lot of confidence that our best baseball is ahead of us."
Nelson Cruz continued his outstanding season with two hits and an RBI Thursday. Cruz has hit .472 with seven of his major league-leading 19 homers and 12 RBIs during a 10-game hit streak. He’s batting .405 with 10 RBIs in his last nine games at Houston.
Baltimore slugger Chris Davis is 2 for 23 with 13 strikeouts in his last six contests.