Indians jumped all over Musgrove
(c) Associated Press
Astros starter Joe Musgrove was lit up by the Indians to the tune of seven earned runs in three innings pitched in Sunday's 8-6 loss at Minute Maid Park. Cleveland took control of the game early and a ninth inning rally by the Astros made a blowout look like it may have been a close game.
Yan Gomes provided much of the early offense for the Indians. Cleveland's catcher doubled in a run and scored a run in the second. In the third Gomes made Musgrove pay dearly for a pair of 2-out walks by blasting a 3-run homer onto the train tracks. Musgrove was out of the game after giving up back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning -- having thrown 74 pitches on the afternoon.
Ashur Tolliver came on in relief and had some control issues of his own before settling down to have what has to be described as a positive outing in his Astros debut. The lefty allowed both inherited runners to score and was charged with a run of his own in a fourth inning that included a wild pitch, a walk, a hit batsman, and a couple of singles. After that, Tolliver threw three hitless innings, giving the Astros a chance to mount a comeback and helping the bullpen avoid being overworked.
The Astros had only six hits in the game, but four of them were home runs. Carlos Beltran smacked a solo shot in the second and Jose Altuve reached the Crawford Boxes for a 2-run dinger in the fourth. Marwin Gonzalez capped off an epic 13-pitch at-bat with a 2-run shot in the ninth and Alex Bregman made it back-to-back jacks when he hammered the next pitch from Zach McAllister over the leftfield wall for his second longball of the year.
But the ninth inning heroics were too little and too late to overcome a subpar pitching performance by Musgrove. The Indians came into Houston and cooled off one of the hottest teams in baseball with an eye-opening 3-game sweep.
The homestand continues Monday evening as the Detroit Tigers send 2016 Rookie of the Year Michael Fulmer to the mound against emergency starter Brad Peacock in a 7:10 CDT tilt. Fulmer, who is 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA this season, has never faced the Astros. Peacock, who has been outstanding out of the Astros bullpen, is replacing the injured Dallas Keuchel and making his first start of the year.
Prior to Sunday's game the Astros placed catcher Brian McCann on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion. Juan Centeno was called up from AAA to take McCann's spot on the roster and could see action behind the plate as early as Monday night.
- Greg Thurston