HOUSTON -- Never one to be the least bit satisfied, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has been working on a few swing adjustments in recent days. And just in time for the Astros.
Bregman, starting at designated hitter, blasted a pair of home runs -- giving him a club-record 12 for the month of May and an American League-leading 17 -- to lead the Astros to a 9-6 win over the Cubs on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.
“I’m pumped we’re winning games,” said Bregman, whose team has won back-to-back series against the 2018 World Series champion Red Sox and ‘16 champion Cubs.
The win was also No. 500 in Astros manager AJ Hinch’s career, including 411 with Houston.
Bregman homered to right field off Cubs starter Jon Lester in the third inning to cut the Cubs’ lead to 3-2, and he hit the first pitch from reliever Brad Brach in the sixth to the same spot in the right-field seats for a two-run homer to break a 6-6 tie.
Bregman was more concerned about his two at-bats that resulted in outs. He struck out in the fourth and popped out to first base in the eighth. He also walked and scored in the first inning.
“I’m trying to hit the ball hard,” he said. “I really just want to figure out a four-seam fastball, because I’m popping them out on the infield. I must be leading the league in infield popups. If we can figure that out, then we’ll be on a good track.”
Bregman’s contribution was key considering the Astros were without several impact bats Tuesday. Carlos Correa (ribs), Jose Altuve (legs), George Springer (hamstring) and Aledmys Diaz (hamstring) were all out with an injury, and Josh Reddick wasn’t in the lineup.
“You have to control what you can control, which is showing up every day and trying to put together good at-bats and trying to make good plays when the ball’s hit your way,” Bregman said. “We’ve got a lot of guys in this clubhouse that can contribute, and we’ve seen that the last two days. Our pitching staff’s done an unbelievable job.”
The two homers tie Bregman with Springer, Eddie Rosario of the Twins and Gary Sanchez of the Yankees for the AL lead, with 17 apiece. They also helped the Astros overcome five Cubs homers -- including three solo shots in the second inning off Astros starter Corbin Martin -- and win for the 19th time in the past 24 games.
“[Bregman is] such an emotional leader for us, especially on a day where we didn’t feel very good going into the game with the news of Correa and news of Altuve,” Hinch said. “He’s DH’ing, he’s grinding. We’re trying to get through these games and get to that off-day [Thursday]. It can’t come fast enough, but we don’t want to just concede games and lose, and he provides that spark with the at-bats, the posture, the walks, the intensity he conducts in his at-bats.
"He doesn't love DH’ing, but maybe tonight will change his mind.”