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Bregman helps steal a victory for Astros

@RichardJustice
September 7, 2019

HOUSTON -- Alex Bregman stole home. Figures it would be him, right? The play occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning, which was quite a bit after his run-scoring double in the first and before his 14-pitch-at-bat walk in the sixth. As usual, he was in the middle of

HOUSTON -- Alex Bregman stole home. Figures it would be him, right?

The play occurred in the bottom of the fifth inning, which was quite a bit after his run-scoring double in the first and before his 14-pitch-at-bat walk in the sixth.

As usual, he was in the middle of a lot of what the Astros did in Friday’s 7-4 victory over the Mariners in front of 33,149 at Minute Maid Park. An artistic success, this wasn’t.

Box score

And there was another worrisome injury. First baseman Yuli Gurriel walked gingerly off the field in the bottom of the fifth inning after suffering what the Astros called “left hamstring discomfort.”

Gurriel day to day with hamstring discomfort

In the end, though, the Astros found a way to win. This is manager AJ Hinch’s daily mantra, and he used it again on Friday.

“We know how to win,” Hinch said prior to the game.

That they do. This was the Astros’ 14th victory in 18 games and pushed their record to 92-50, tied with the Yankees for the American League’s best record.

Josh Reddick homered to break up a 3-3 tie in the fourth inning on a night when seven of Hinch’s nine starters got hits. Only Bregman and José Altuve had more than one.

Reddick got the homer off his former A’s teammate Tommy Milone. He also homered for the second straight game while wearing teammate George Springer’s pants. Springer is sidelined with a concussion and suggested Reddick try it.

“Might be a home run in those pants,” Springer told him.

Reddick’s wardrobe will not change for a while.

“They all feel really good right now,” Reddick said. “I’ll keep wearing ‘em. You know how superstitious we are as baseball players.”

Statcast projected Reddick's home run at 436 feet, his longest since 2015.

“I don’t care as long as they go over,” he said. “Any time you get one in the upper deck, that feels good.”

Starting pitcher Framber Valdez walked four of the first six Mariners he faced and dug his team a 2-0 hole in the top of the first inning. That he finished four innings despite issuing six walks overall and three earned runs added a silver lining.

“I saw a guy who battled his way through his outing,” Hinch said. “He just had a hard time throwing strikes when he wanted to. When he’s spraying the ball all over the place, he’s a little hard to hit. He’s hard to catch. He’s hard to do a lot with.”

Hinch’s bullpen was again excellent, with five relievers allowing one run over the final five innings.

“We’re asking a lot out of these guys the last couple of days,” Hinch said. “A normal start from [Justin Verlander on Saturday] would go over really well.”

Bregman doubled in a run in the first inning and scored, singled and eventually scored in the fifth and then walked in the sixth. His steal of home was the first of his career and the first for the Astros in more than four years.

“When he’s locked in, there’s probably no tougher out in the big leagues than Alex Bregman,” Hinch said. “He rarely swings outside the strike zone. I think Bregman in general is rare.”

Bregman got the steal of home when first baseman Aledmys Díaz, running for Gurriel, took off for second and drew a pickoff throw from Milone. During the rundown, Bregman darted for home, making it easily to give the Astros a two-run lead.

“We talked about some things we can try and exploit before the series,” Bregman said. “We thought we had an opportunity to do it there. Diaz and I made eye contact. He took off, and I was able to get a big lead.”

Asked the last time he’d stolen home, he said, “I don’t know if I ever have. I’m really slow. I don’t normally steal.”

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice.