Springer helps Astros beat D-backs 10-4, extend AL West lead
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Astros were in a celebratory mood after helping Charlie Morton get a milestone win.
“I think our guys were genuinely happy for me,” said the 34-year-old Morton, who made his fist All-Star appearance earlier this summer. “The wins — I guess it means a lot to me because of this group. We’ve been through a lot and it means a lot to me. It was fun.”
Morton (15-3) limited Arizona to two runs and three hits while striking out seven in six innings. He was perfect through three innings before the Diamondbacks scored on a sacrifice fly from David Peralta in the fourth to pull to 2-1.
“He’s already entered uncharted waters and he continues to tack onto his career,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “These last two seasons, he’s been pushed, he’s been challenged, he’s had to endure a few things, and he’s done his part by continuing to post and do his routine and be incredibly effective. The back of the baseball card matters.”
After struggling to get hits in a 4-2 loss to the Diamondbacks the previous night, the Astros managed 12 hits — including 10 singles — and drew seven walks in the bounce-back win. Coupled with Oakland’s 7-5 loss at Tampa Bay, the Astros extended their lead in the AL West to 3 1/2 games over the Athletics with 14 games remaining.
Springer, who finished 4 for 5, said he didn’t have any lingering shoulder discomfort after exiting Friday’s loss early as a precaution following a diving attempt in the field. Instead, the Astros’ leadoff hitter had his first four-hit game since May.
The Astros put together a three-run rally in the fourth inning with a string of singles from Springer, Jose Altuve, Marwin Gonzalez and Yuli Gurriel. Gonzalez’s hit drove in two, and he advanced to third on Gurriel’s dribbler into right field and came around to score when the ball went under the glove of right fielder Steven Souza.
That chased Zack Godley (14-10), who gave up five runs and seven hits, while matching a season-high with six walks in 3 2/3 innings. He lost his third straight start, failing to make it to the sixth inning for the fifth time in his last six outings — going 1-4 in that stretch.
“I’m at a point where it’s one outing after another where it’s kind of a snowball effect,” Godley said. “I’ve got to figure out a way to put a stop to it and put up a clean outing.”
Ketel Marte homered off Morton in the fifth to cut Houston’s lead to 5-2.
The Astros answered with another three-run inning in the sixth, again using exclusively singles from Springer, Alex Bregman and Gurriel to push the lead to 8-2. Altuve had a two-run double in the seventh.
Eduardo Escobar hit his 22nd homer of the year in the eighth inning into the right-field upper deck off Chris Devenski to make it 10-3. Marte’s RBI double in the ninth capped the scoring.
“We played sloppy baseball today in a couple of situations,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. “We can’t do that, especially in this environment, this time of the year against this team. We’ve got to figure that out.”
Jose Reddick homered, his 14th, off Godley in the second inning to get the Astros on the scoreboard first, and Gurriel made it 2-0 with run-scoring grounder in the third.
The Astros left the bases loaded in the first and third innings and stranded 10 runners in the game.
Diamondbacks: Arizona placed RHP Clay Buchholz (right elbow flexor strain) on the 60-day disabled list. Buchholz, 34, was 7-2 with a 2.01 ERA in 16 starts for Arizona this season and was a late scratch from his last scheduled start Thursday in Colorado. RHP Randall Delgado was recalled from Triple-A Reno.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (forearm strain) pitched a bullpen session on Saturday at the Astros’ spring training facility in Florida, facing one hitter and mixing in all of his pitches, Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. McCullers, who has been out since Aug. 4, will have a similar session on Tuesday.
Bregman went 1 for 2 with a run and two walks, extending his on-base streak to 41 games, the longest active streak in the majors and tied for the fourth-longest streak in franchise history.
ASTROS ADD SPEED
OF Myles Straw made his major league debut as a pinch runner in the seventh after being called up from Triple-A Fresno on Saturday. Straw, 24, batted .291 with 70 stolen bases across Double-A and Triple-A this season. The Astros are hopeful that the speedy Straw can be a baserunning threat in the playoffs. To make room on the 40-man roster, the Astros transferred RHP Jandel Gustave to the 60-day disabled list.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (14-9, 3.11 ERA) is 7-3 with a 2.75 ERA in his last 11 road starts. In 10 career starts against Houston, Greinke is 6-2 with a 2.24 ERA.
Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (15-9, 2.72 ERA) will close out Houston’s three-game series against Arizona on Sunday. Verlander is two strikeouts behind teammate Gerrit Cole (260) for the American League lead, and just 11 shy of his career high of 269 in 2009.