Grand slam by Diaz vs. Tigers helps Astros to 7-0 homestand
HOUSTON (AP) — Aledmys Díaz hit a grand slam, Jake Odorizzi threw five innings of one-hit ball and the Houston Astros beat the Detroit Tigers 5-0 on Sunday for a four-game sweep and their seventh straight win.
Díaz’s second home run of the season came in the third inning on a 92 mph fastball from Tigers reliever Drew Hutchison (0-3). It went 347 feet to left-center field, scoring José Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez for a 4-0 lead.
“It was great, especially on this day,” Díaz said. “There was a lot of emotion in that swing. I texted my mom, and she’s very happy. I said, ‘I did it for you,’ and I’m pretty happy about that.”
Bregman later padded the lead with a solo homer off Joe Jimenez for his fifth home run of the season.
Houston finished a red-hot homestand against Seattle and Detroit 7-0. When the homestand began, they were 11-11.
Odorizzi (3-2) allowed one hit in five innings, while striking out five. The veteran right-hander has allowed just one run across his last three starts after allowing 12 runs in his first three starts of the season.
“What a homestand that was — 7-0, that’s pretty darn impressive,” Odorizzi said. “We’re playing some pretty good ball right now. It’s a lot easier to win when we limit the damage. When we go like this, the staff, we’re pretty hard to defeat. It’s fun to watch.”
Cristian Javier pitched three scoreless innings in relief of Odorizzi. He struck out five and gave up no hits. Javier was scheduled to make his third start of the season Tuesday, but his return to the bullpen signals that the Astros are likely moving away from their recent six-game rotation.
“Pitching is the name of the game,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “Our guys are going deep in the games so our bullpen isn’t too stretched out. This was the last of the 17 (games) in a row so we urged our guys to finish strong. That’s what stands out is the way that they’ve battled and fought and won a lot of close games.”
Detroit starter Wily Peralta pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three before Detroit turned to Hutchison, who allowed four runs and two hits while striking out four.
The loss dropped the struggling Tigers to 8-19, the worst record in the American League.
A SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY
The ceremonial first pitches were thrown by the mothers of Bregman, Altuve, Michael Brantley, Martín Maldonado, Jeremy Peña and Yuli Gurriel.
“I was very happy that she was able to come and throw out the first pitch, and it was great to see all the other moms, as well,” Bregman said.
Manager Dusty Baker said before the game that it was his first Mother’s Day since his mother, Christine, died in January at age 90.
Astros right fielder Kyle Tucker robbed Javier Báez of a sure home run in the top of the ninth inning, leaping at the wall to bring it back. After the play, Báez stood on second base with his hands on his hips to watch the replay before heading back to the dugout. The right-field fans started chanting, “Tucker, Tucker, Tucker!”
Tigers: OF Austin Meadows (non-COVID-19 illness) was available to be used as a pinch-hitter, but manager A.J. Hinch said before the game that he didn’t feel comfortable starting him after he had been mostly confined to bed for the past two days. … OF Victor Reyes (left quad strain) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Tuesday.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. continues to make progress in his rehab from a flexor strain in the offseason. On Sunday, he threw from 90 feet for the first time in the process.
Tigers: Michael Pineda (1-1, 3.77 ERA) starts for Detroit on Monday when the Tigers host the Athletics for the first in a five-game series. He has allowed two runs or less in two of three starts this season.
Astros: Justin Verlander (3-1, 1.93) will likely start Tuesday when the Astros open up a nine-game road trip that starts in Minnesota. Verlander has allowed two runs or less in four of five starts this season.
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