Astros score 10 runs in 6th inning in win over White Sox

HOUSTON — Just think about how dangerous the Astros can be if they get alex bregman and yuli gurriel going at the same time at the plate. Manager Dusty Baker has hoped and prayed for Bregman and Gurriel to shake whatever has been hindering their swings and return to the level of production they’ve enjoyed for much of their careers.

Baker finally got his wish Friday night at Minute Maid Park when Bregman and Gurriel hit early homers, but Houston was just getting warmed up. The Astros erupted for 10 runs in the sixth inning — their biggest single-inning outburst in more than five years — in a 13-3 victory over the White Sox for their 40th win of the season.

“It starts with one game and hopefully, two and three and four,” Baker said. “Your confidence rises, your concentration also rises. Right after that comes, hopefully, a lot of hits.”

The Astros sent 14 batters to the plate in the sixth and got three homers — from Michael Brantley, Jordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker — in a span of four batters against the shell-shocked White Sox to break a 3-3 tie. It was the most runs the Astros have scored in an inning since they pushed across 11 in the eighth inning on May 29, 2017, against the Twins in Minnesota.

“It was beautiful, man,” said center fielder Chas McCormick, who had an RBI single in the sixth. “I was battling up there, got a knock and after that, it just seemed like everybody didn’t stop hitting. It’s super gratifying, especially scoring 10 in one inning. That was huge. As a ballclub, we needed that, and it was a good victory for all of us.”

Alvarez — an American League Most Valuable Player candidate — Brantley and Tucker have joined Jose Altuve in carrying Houston’s offense for much of this year, and an effective Bregman and Gurriel would help to make the lineup whole.

Bregman entered the game with a .214 batting average and .694 OPS — well below his career averages — and went 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored. Gurriel, who won the AL batting title last year, entered Friday hitting .218 and went 3-for-3 with two runs scored.

“Hitting is contagious, and nobody likes to be left out,” Baker said. “There are some guys that are behind schedule for their normal years and as you can see across the board, in other games as well as ours, offense is catching up. The scores are going up almost daily. This is a time when the hitters should start hitting.”

Bregman got the scoring started when he turned on a Lucas Giolito pitch in the first inning and sent it 407 feet over the left-center-field wall for a two-run homer — his first in 65 at-bats. The fact that Bregman was on time and squared up the 94 mph fastball is a good sign for him.

“I felt good today, a step in the right direction,” he said. “Just getting after it and keep working every single day, but you know, it was nice to see what this offense is capable of.”

Gurriel led off the second inning with a homer before the Astros unloaded on Giolito in the sixth. They had taken a 6-3 lead with the help of an RBI double by Tucker and an RBI single by McCormick, but Brantley broke the game open with a towering grand slam to right field off reliever Matt Foster, who struck out two batters with the bases loaded before Brantley took him deep.

“Foster comes in and does that escape job with the two punchouts, and you are thinking three-run game and all of a sudden, it’s a slam and then it just, at that point, it came down to: Make one more good pitch to get out of the inning with three runs, and we had nine outs [left],” White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “So, once it got away, it got away.”

One batter later, Alvarez sailed a two-run home run to right field — his 18th of the season — off Foster to make it 12-3, and Tucker followed with a homer to right off Tanner Banks for a 13-3 lead . Tucker stretched his hitting streak to a career-long 15 games, which is the longest active streak in the Major Leagues.

“Any time you’re scoring a bunch of runs like that, it’s fun,” Bregman said. “But I think it’s just guys putting together quality at-bat after quality at-bat and continuing to fight. Everybody in here has been working their tail off to be the best they can be and that can be a good thing for us.”


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