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Astros hit three straight HRs in only four pitches

Altuve, Bregman, Alvarez go back to back to back vs. Rangers
@brianmctaggart
July 19, 2019

HOUSTON -- José Altuve and Alex Bregman got a sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park roaring Friday night by hitting back-to-back homers in the third inning against the Rangers. Rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez sent them into a frenzy. Alvarez followed Altuve and Bregman by hitting a mammoth, 474-foot homer to

HOUSTON -- José Altuve and Alex Bregman got a sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park roaring Friday night by hitting back-to-back homers in the third inning against the Rangers. Rookie slugger Yordan Alvarez sent them into a frenzy.

Alvarez followed Altuve and Bregman by hitting a mammoth, 474-foot homer to right field to give the Astros and Justin Verlander a four-run lead on back-to-back-to-back homers. They then held on to beat the Rangers, 4-3.

Box score

“Before everybody was done high-fiving Bregman, we were doing it again with Alvarez,” said Astros manager AJ Hinch, who passed Larry Dierker and moved into sole possession of second place on the club’s all-time managerial wins list with No. 436.

Alvarez’s homer -- his 10th in 27 Major League games -- was the longest hit by an Astros player since Statcast began tracking homers in 2015. The ball came off the bat at 112.2 mph.

Longest homers for every MLB team

“It would be even better if every guy hit a home run, but very happy with three,” Alvarez said.

The homers came on a span of four pitches off Rangers ace Mike Minor, who brushed aside 1,238 feet worth of long balls and sent down 15 of the final 16 batters he faced, capped by striking out the side in the seventh inning. Still, enough damage had been done by the Astros for them to win their third game in a row.

“It was great,” said Bregman, who took a 97 mph fastball to his helmet in the eighth inning but stayed in to finish the game. “It was good to put together to put some at-bats back to back to back. We did a great job after a long night of traveling. I know everybody was tired. We win ballgames like that, it’s special.”

Verlander (12-4) struck out 12 batters and allowed two runs in six innings -- on consecutive solo homers to Rougned Odor and Asdrubal Cabrera with two outs in the sixth inning. Verlander has 28 homers allowed, matching his 2018 total, which came in 214 innings.

“The game today, for the longest time, felt like exactly what 2019 feels like, which is a lot of homers and a lot of punchouts,” Hinch said. “Fortunately for us, we got on Minor pretty heavily early. We got some pitches to hit. That was an explosive three swings in a row. The building was rocking. We jumped out to a 3-0 lead on four solo homers, and they made their way back. It was quite a win for us.”

Yuli Gurriel homered to lead off the second inning -- his 12th in his last 20 games -- but couldn’t make it four homers in a row in the third when he followed Alvarez’s blast by flying out to left field. It’s the first time the Astros have slugged three consecutive homers since George Springer, Bregman and Altuve on June 20, 2018 vs. the Rays.

“We have a really tough middle of the order of our own when we have these guys matched up,” Hinch said. “It was a big night.”

Verlander danced around traffic in all six innings of work and then watched Will Harris (seventh inning) and Josh James (eighth) do the same in relief before Roberto Osuna pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 21st save.

“Those guys battled me all night,” Verlander said. “The box score probably doesn’t show how tough they battled me with 12 strikeouts, but every single one of them was difficult. They had men on base every inning, and it wasn’t easy. Pleased to be able to keep us in the game and come out with a W.”

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.