ATLANTA -- Even on a night the Astros didn't have the luxury of having the designated hitter because they're playing in a National League ballpark, their relentless offense didn't slow down in a 16-4 win over the Braves at SunTrust Park.It started at the top, where Astros manager A.J. Hinch
ATLANTA -- Even on a night the Astros didn't have the luxury of having the designated hitter because they're playing in a National League ballpark, their relentless offense didn't slow down in a 16-4 win over the Braves at SunTrust Park.
It started at the top, where Astros manager A.J. Hinch switched Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick, putting Altuve in the second spot and Reddick in the third spot. He wanted to provide George Springer some protection because he was hitting behind the pitcher, and Reddick has swung the bat well enough against lefties to warrant a start against Atlanta southpaw Sean Newcomb.
The lineup flip -- as temporary as it may be -- worked to near perfection for the Astros, who watched Springer, Altuve and Reddick go a combined 10-for-16 at the top of the order with eight runs scored and nine RBIs. All three hit home runs.
"I've been trying to push A.J. to put me in the three-hole and push Altuve to the second hole," said Reddick, who hit a grand slam in the ninth inning. "Hopefully, it's not just a National League thing. Hopefully it's something we can incorporate, but we've been doing great the other way around as well. It's not a surprise we can still do it no matter who we put in that spot."
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Springer's homer in the third was his 25th, making him the third Astros player to have that many homers in the first half. He's hitting .370 with 16 homers and 29 RBIs in his last 35 games. Altuve (3-for-5) is hitting .385 on the road this season, which leads the Major Leagues. Reddick, meanwhile, is hitting .487 with a 1.423 OPS in 12 games since coming off the disabled list.
"It could go in any order," Hinch said. "I could lead off Reddick tomorrow, and outside of hearing it from Springer, it would be fine. Those guys at the top set the tone with such good at-bats out of all of those guys. We don't have a part in our order right now that's too comfortable for the opponent."
Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman also had three-hit games for the Astros, who had seven doubles among their season-high-tying 19 hits.
"I think we were all pretty excited to get there once we realized we were going to be moving around the bases a whole lot tonight," Reddick said. "I don't think there was really rushing to the bat rack. I think we were all going in there with a lot of confidence and knew we were going to get at least one or two jobs done in the at-bat. We weren't trying to do too much, it seemed like. We didn't try to get out of our at-bats. We just kept putting up runs, and that's one of the things this team's been so consistent about."
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.