The Astros managed just three hits Friday night but two of them were homers. That was enough for a 5-1 win over the Indians at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
Houston starter Brad Peacock was having what may have been his best outing of the season. But he was forced from the game with forearm discomfort after 62 pitches. After allowing only one run and two hits through five innings of work, Peacock was unable to complete his warmup tosses prior to the sixth inning.
Kevin Chapman came on in relief with the score tied at one apiece on homeruns by Marwin Gonzalez and Zach Walters. Chapman kept things knotted up for 1 & 1/3 innings before giving way to Josh Fields. Fields did a nice job, getting out of a jam by freezing Walters on a 3-2 curveball after throwing him nothing but high heaters for the entire at-bat.
Tony Sipp took the mound against his former team in the eighth and things got a little crazy. Mike Aviles started the inning with a pinch-hit single to center. Tyler Holt was then summoned to pinch-hit for Chris Dickerson and proceeded to lay down a bunt. The Astros were unable to get the force out at second and the Indians had two aboard with no outs.
With the sacrifice still in order the Astros caught Aviles wandering too far away from second and got him in a rundown. He was eventually tagged out, with Holt advancing to second. Holt was then thrown out attempting to steal third and effectively killing the rally. When Roberto Perez struck out to end the inning, the 18,743 fans in attendance voiced their displeasure with a resonating chorus of boos.
With the game tied going into the ninth inning, Indians skipper Terry Francona sent his closer to the mound. Cody Allen entered the game having given up only one run in his last 23 appearances. That’s an ERA of 0.42. Allen got Jose Altuve to ground out to shortstop before issuing a walk to Chris Carter. Dexter Fowler followed with a grounder to first that Carlos Santana threw into leftfield in an attempt to get the force play at second. The Astros now had runners at the corners and only one out — thanks to the error. With the help of another Indians miscue, the Astros would take the lead.
Dexter Fowler appeared to be out attempting to steal second, but the throw from catcher Roberto Perez sailed into the outfield. Pinch-runner Gregorio Petit scored and Fowler went all the way to third. Three batters later, Jon Singleton drove the final nail in the Indians’ coffin with a 3-run bomb to the opposite field.
Chad Qualls, who had missed a couple of games due to back tightness, came in for the bottom of the ninth. The inning started with an error by Matt Dominguez and a mental error by Singleton. But Qualls was able to snuff the rally, getting Michael Brantley to fly out and Santana to ground into a double-play.
The Astros are now 5-3 on the current road trip with two games left to play in Cleveland. Sipp, the beneficiary of a few mistakes made by the second youngest team in the league, picked up his fourth win of the year. Houston, the youngest team in the league, was able to overcome a pair of errors and a 3-hit performance to win for the 55th time this season. Collin McHugh takes the mound against Danny Salazar Saturday as the Astros go for win number 56.