PHOENIX (AP)Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa hit solo homers, George Springer added a two-run double and the Houston Astros roughed up Madison Bumgarner in an 8-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
Altuve hit his homer in the first inning and Correa connected in the second. The Astros put the game away in the fifth inning with five runs, including two on Springer’s bases-loaded double.
Houston manager Dusty Baker was pleased to see aggressive swings from his offense all night.
”We scored early like we talked about,” Baker said. ”We still could have scored more. This ballpark is similar to playing in Colorado, you never really feel safe here because they’ve got big gaps and the ball flies.”
Correa reached base all five times he came to the plate, finishing 3 for 3 with a homer, two singles and two walks. He’s now batting .389 this season, which has helped offset fairly slow starts for Springer, Altuve and Alex Bregman.
”I think I’m getting a better understanding of what I’m good at and what pitches I can drive,” Correa said.
Houston has won three of its past four games. Cristian Javier (1-0) was excellent in his second career start, giving up one run on four hits over six innings. The 23-year-old’s emergence has been crucial for the Astros, who don’t have ace Justin Verlander because of a strained right forearm.
”He’s strong, very confident, poised in his demeanor and mannerisms,” Baker said. ”He acts like a veteran, like he’s been here before.”
The D-backs made things interesting late in the game after loading the bases in both the seventh and eighth, but could only push one run across the plate. Enoli Paredes got out of the seventh inning jam when he got Jon Jay to fly out to center. He escaped the eighth partly thanks to a leaping catch by Correa on a soft liner for the second out.
Humberto Castellanos pitched a scoreless ninth for the Astros in his big league debut.
The Diamondbacks fell to 3-8 and have lost five of six.
Bumgarner (0-2) had his worst outing of the season, giving up eight runs over 4 1/3 innings. The 31-year-old lefty signed an $85 million, five-year deal with the Diamondbacks in the offseason but in three starts hasn’t looked like the same pitcher who helped the San Francisco Giants win three World Series titles over the past decade.
His fastball velocity was down in the 87-89 mph range and Altuve hit the first one he saw into the left-center field stands for a solo homer. Bumgarner gave up seven hits, hit three batters, walked two and had a costly error in the fourth when his errant throw to second base skipped into center field.
”These are grinding times right now,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. ”This is what tests your ballclub, tests its character, but we’ve spoken about these type of moments. We’ve spoken and budgeted for rough times.”
Correa was in the spotlight during the Astros’ series with the Los Angeles Dodgers last week. Correa and Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly exchanged words after Kelly threw a pitch over Correa’s head.
It was the first time the Dodgers and Astros met on the field since the extent of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal from 2017 and 2018 was revealed. The Astros beat the Dodgers in the 2017 World Series.
Correa said it hasn’t been hard to put last week’s incident behind him.
”What happened with the Dodgers was nothing, other than we lost both games,” Correa said. ”We were trying to win the series, but nothing really happened in that series, nothing to be concerned about.”
The D-backs’ lineup came into the game hitting just .192 and had another tough night. In the sixth inning, Lovullo pulled the top five hitters of the lineup: Ketel Marte, Kole Calhoun, Starling Marte, Christian Walker and Eduardo Escobar.
He replaced them with Tim Locastro, Jay, Stephen Vogt, Jake Lamb and Andy Young.
The 26-year-old Young was playing in just his second game in the big leagues. He hit a double and a single in his first two career at-bats on Tuesday after coming into the game as a defensive replacement on Sunday.
Astros: OF Michael Brantley (quad) was out of the lineup on Tuesday. Manager Dusty Baker said Brantley is day-to-day and could miss Wednesday’s game. Brantley is hitting .438 though nine games.
Diamondbacks: David Peralta got a rare start at DH after spending most of the season in left field. Rookie Daulton Varsho made the first start his career in left. Peralta was hitting just .182 through the season’s first 10 games. Lovullo said he wanted to get Peralta off his feet for two days straight after the D-backs also had an off day on Monday.
Astros: Houston sends RHP Lance McCullers (1-0, 5.40) to the mound on Wednesday.
Diamondbacks: Arizona will start LHP Robbie Ray (0-2. 8.64).
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