Joe Musgrove bought himself another month in the starting rotation on Wednesday with a solid six innings of four-hit ball in a 4-2 triumph over the interleague Atlanta Braves. Only a noisy fourth where Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia took Musgrove deep with solo home runs spoiled a masterful afternoon for the 24-year-old righthander.
Correa, Altuve: Dance to New York
(c) Associated Press
Allowing two other hits and walking three, Musgrove dodged some trouble in the early going before settling down. He struck out four while notching his second win.
The Astros are now 7-2 for the month and 14-6 (.700) at home. They lead by six over the surging Seattle Mariners who are at .500. Houston has won all three series this month and are 9-2 overall.
Before a midweek throng of 23,676, Houston scored first when George Springer doubled home Jake Marisnick in the third against Jaime Garcia. The Braves responded with their pair of solo shots against Musgrove.
Carlos Beltran was moved up to the second spot in the order with Josh Reddick sitting against the southpaw and it was a key to the decisive fifth. With two away and the bases empty, Beltran poked an opposite field single to right. He moved to second when Jose Altuve walked.
Carlos Correa, as hot in May as he was cold in April, cracked a double to left that plated both runners and Yuli Gurriel followed with a base hit to chase home the insurance run for a 4-2 margin.
Luke Gregerson had another encouraging outing with a 1-2-3 seventh and it was Will Harris' turn to feel the yips. Harris allowed two singles to open the eighth but bounced back with a pair of strikeouts. After a semi-intentional walk to Freeman, Harris fanned Matt Kemp to quell the threat.
Ken Giles completed an uneventful ninth for his ninth save.
What's making the Astros such a tough team to match up with so far is that every non-pitcher is batting above .250, all but Alex Bregman has gone deep and over the half the lineup features an OPS of .800 or better. Pitchers have no breathers whether it's a lefty or a righty on the hill. The Astros are first in the AL in hits, second in batting average, second in OPS and third in runs.
That's a nice situation to be in as they head to the Bronx to contest first place in the American League with the 21-10 New York Yankees for the next four days. Dallas Keuchel (5-0) will try to repeat his 2015 wild card mastery as he pitches the series opener Thursday night against Michael Pineda (3-1). The first pitch is slated for 6:05 Central time.
It will be a good chance to see how these two clubs square up in a series that could be a playoff preview.