On Monday afternoon, the Astros set season highs in runs (16) and hits (18) in a comeback win that left many in awe. On Wednesday afternoon, the Astros topped that.
Springer: Monster mashes
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They did not need an 11-run frame to blow out the Twins at Bull's Eye Field. Their effort was summed up with George Springer's home run that landed somewhere in Montana. Actually, it was just 473 feet but the crushing blow started a six-run rally after Minnesota had dared to get within a run before the Astros put on the thrusters and exploded for a 17-6 demolition that capped a 40-run three-game sweep that had many scrambling for the record books.
Memo to Houston opponents. It doesn't seem to matter now whether the Astros send a big leaguer to the mound. Even with David "The Goliath" Paulino starting fresh off the plane from Fresno, the Astros scored early and often to keep the young Dominican righthander relaxed. Paulino did not get the victory as he only lasted four innings. That honor went to Michael Feliz, perhaps just for putting an end to the blood bath.
The offense hectored Santiago, the Minnesota starter, for four runs in the opening three innings, including a two-run shot by Carlos Correa in the first.
They were just getting warmed up.
The Twins added two runs off Paulino before Springer belted the first of his two bombs - this one merely nesting in the first deck in left - as if to say to the 25,593 Minnesota afternoon fans "not today". Alex Bregman drilled a solo shot in the sixth to make it 6-2.
But the Twinkies showed they weren't done. Eddie Rosario took James Hoyt deep then, later the same inning, ex-Astro Jason Castro launched a two-run missile off Tony Sipp that narrowed the lead to 6-5.
As if waking a giant, the Astros flexed their muscles again and put the game out of reach. Springer sent his tee shot almost into the third deck and other rallies included homers from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez. When the smoke settled, Houston had 17 tallies on 19 hits.
Springer and Gattis led with four hits each while Correa had three. Springer scored four times. Gattis and Correa each drove in three. Every batter in the Houston lineup contributed at least one hit.
The triumph was a fitting ending to a spectacular month. Houston won 22 games in a month for the third time in franchise history. They won their seventh straight and own a 38-16 record, best in the majors and the best to this point of the season in franchise history.
Houston leads the rival Rangers by a full dozen games as they fly into DFW to start a three-game series on Friday. The Astros took three of four from the Arlington boys to start the month. Dallas Keuchel (8-0) will try to stay undefeated as he pitches the 7:05 Central opener at Global Warming Park. Houston nemesis Yu Darvish (5-3) will be his mound opponent.
- Bob Hulsey