PHILADELPHIA -- A nearly two-hour rain delay did little to slow down the Astros' road rage.Sparked by red-hot Jose Altuve's two-out, two-run single, the Astros erupted for five runs with two outs in the fourth inning -- moments after a 1-hour, 52-minute rain delay ended -- and ran away from
PHILADELPHIA -- A nearly two-hour rain delay did little to slow down the Astros' road rage.
Sparked by red-hot Jose Altuve's two-out, two-run single, the Astros erupted for five runs with two outs in the fourth inning -- moments after a 1-hour, 52-minute rain delay ended -- and ran away from the Phillies, 13-4, on Monday night at soggy Citizens Bank Park to improve to 36-12 on the road this season and 8-0 against the National League.
"It's amazing what a two-out hit will do for you," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Altuve's two-out hit just ignited a big inning for us and it happens fast for this team. We get a couple of hits in a row and something good happens. Longer delay than what we expected based on the forecast, but certainly served us well."
Brian McCann and Alex Bregman (3-for-5, three runs, three RBIs) hit back-to-back homers in the second off Phillies starter and former Astros righty Vince Velasquez, and Houston led, 3-1, when the skies opened in the top of the fourth.
"They hammer mistakes," Velasquez said. "McCann hit that fastball over the middle. I can't leave it over the middle like that. It cut right over the middle, right into his barrel. Bregman is just a great, great hitter. Just what he's done, coming up in the league, he's been phenomenal. Hitting the ball where it's placed. It just carried out to right."
The Astros pounced on reliever Ricardo Pinto when play resumed, scoring five runs with two outs to take an 8-1 lead, including two-run singles by Altuve and Carlos Beltran.
Houston finished with 18 hits, marking the 11th time this season it's had 15 or more.
"We've been really good almost the entire season, maybe a tough start at the start of the season," Hinch said. "We will come at you for nine innings. I'm proud of the way they go about it. That's the best characteristic we have is we have a ton of consistent at-bats, and it shows up on nights like tonight."
Joe Musgrove, who was recently moved to the Astros' bullpen, pitched three scoreless innings in relief to get the win. Musgrove (5-8) took over after the rain delay for starter Brad Peacock, who allowed one run and two hits in three innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The hits keep on coming: With two outs in the fourth and runners on second and third, Altuve got Houston's scoring barrage started with a two-run single with two strikes. Altuve went 4-for-4 and extended his career-high hitting streak to 16 games, during which he's hitting .528. He's hitting .507 in July and also improved his road batting average to .433, which is the highest road batting average since baseball integrated in 1947 (min. 200 PAs). More >
Seeing double: Peacock got a key double play to end the second, with an assist from center fielder George Springer. The Phils scored once in the second to get within a run at 2-1 and had runners at first and second base when Cameron Perkins hit a laser in center to Springer, who made the catch and threw out Andrew Knapp at first for an inning-ending double play.
"I'm glad [injured Astros shortstop Carlos Correa] was out of it because he probably would have done some damage as well. This team is hot. They're in first place for a reason. They're very selective. A lot of missed pitches inside, away, they poked it down the line. These guys are in the zone. They're locked in." -- Velasquez, on the potent Astros lineup
Springer is day to day after leaving the game in the third with left quad discomfort. He injured the leg muscle fielding a double in the second when his spike caught in the grass. Hinch said Springer will avoid the DL. More >
Hinch unsuccessfully challenged a call at second base in the sixth. The Phillies' Andres Blanco was called safe at second on a fielder's choice, and replay showed Bregman's foot came off the bag at second while trying to catch Tyler White's throw.
Astros: Charlie Morton, who pitched in four games for Philadelphia last year before tearing his hamstring in April, will start Tuesday's 6:05 p.m. CT game at Citizens Bank Park. He hasn't faced the Phillies since July 29, 2011, while with the Pirates.
Phillies: The second game of the series Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET will see the Phils send Nick Pivetta (3-5, 5.58 ERA) to the mound for his 14th career start. He's pitched solidly in two Interleague starts, one being his best outing, a seven-inning scoreless appearance during which he allowed just four hits and struck out nine.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.**.
Ben Harris is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Phillies on Monday.