The old “there’s no place like home” adage sure doesn’t ring true for the 2023 Houston Astros. They have tended all year to do their best work on the road, and yesterday’s boat racing of the division rival Rangers was no different.
After getting swept at home by the Yankees and falling to 35-34 at home this season, Houston strode into Globe Life yesterday and blew the doors off of Texas, winning 13-6 behind five home runs. The victory sealed a 7th straight Silver Boot as winners of the Lone Star Series, a vital development to clinch the tiebreaker with the division still up for grabs.
The Astros are now 43-27 away from Minute Maid this season.
Jose Altuve had a monster day from the leadoff spot, going 4-6 with two home runs. The other bookend of the lineup wasn’t to be outdone, as Mauricio Dubón put together his first two home run game of his career.
In between them, two should be lineup mainstays continued to make their case for more playing time.
After Chas McCormick inexplicably got only three plate appearances in a series for the taking against the Yankees, he capitalized after being put back into the lineup. McCormick reached base his first three plate appearances, and finished 2-4 with a double and an RBI.
One spot behind McCormick in the order was rookie catcher Yainer Diaz. As Diaz has done all year long when playing the field, he demonstrated his light tower power with a three run bomb in the top of the 7th. His 21st home run traveled 453 feet, blowing the game open.
That the two don’t play everyday remains a mystery. There’s simply no justification to leave a bat with an .880 OPS and another with an .843 on the bench.
Though J.P France labored through five plus innings, allowing five runs, the bullpen did a solid job.
Rafael Montero continued his second-half resurgence, inheriting a runner on first with no outs in a tied game in the top of the sixth. He struck out Robbie Grossman before recording back-to-back fly outs to end the threat. His efforts earned Montero the win.
Ryne Stanek did go down with an ankle injury in the bottom of the 9th, but as of yet, no injury update has been made available.
With the Mariners dropping a game to the Reds, Houston’s win moved them back into a tie for first atop the AL West. They’re one game clear of the stumbling Rangers.
Framber Valdez will take the bump tonight against a returning Nathan Eovaldi as the Astros look to stay atop the division and create more distance between themselves and Texas.