Middle of order comes up big for Astros

June 21st, 2016

HOUSTON -- Sure, the Astros were true to their Crush City roots in Monday's 10-7 win over the Angels at Minute Maid Park by getting home runs by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and Jason Castro, but that was only a portion of the damage done by their surging offense.

The Astros erupted for 15 hits -- including 10 singles -- and had five players have multiple hits for their second-highest outburst of the season. Every starter had at least one hit except for leadoff hitter George Springer, who walked twice and scored once.

"It definitely helps when everybody can kind of get the ball rolling and take some pressure off other guys and that just makes the pitcher have to work more and we can get to him quicker," Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus said. "That's always the goal. It doesn't happen that way all the time, but hopefully we can get a good thing rolling here and get comfortable and do what we thought we've been able to do all along."

The Astros scored three times in the first, capped by back-to-back two-out RBI singles by Carlos Gomez and Luis Valbuena, and they pieced together four consecutive hits in the third inning and had five consecutive hits in the sixth to open up a 9-2 lead.

"Early in that game, we put up as good of at-bats in a row as we have all year," manager A.J. Hinch said. "To put up those kinds of at-bats in a row is really important for us. I love how we continue to battle, we continue to tack on. We answered their runs and came out with a good win."

Since getting shut out by Tampa Bay on June 12, the Astros have gone 5-1 and averaged 5.3 runs per game, hitting .295 as a team. Rasmus (3-for-5) and Gomez (3-for-4) each had three hits Monday, and Altuve, Correa and Valbuena had multi-hit games. The Altuve home run traveled 431 feet.

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"Early on, we were kind of snake bit," Rasmus said. "We hit a lot of balls hard at guys and ran into some good pitching and when we needed those hits, it would be a line drive at somebody or somebody would make a great play. Tonight we were able to push those through."

This is the kind of lineup the Astros envisioned at the start of year. While Altuve continues to lead the way and Springer and Correa play key roles, Valbuena and Gomez are swinging the bat as well as they have all season, and it makes the lineup a dangerous one.

"It's an impressive lineup when we can put together quality plate appearances," Hinch said. "We did a lot of those in a row, and I think that's the key to good team offense is we just continue to go at them, we continue to put up quality at-bats. We even hit four or five singles in a row, which is unheard of around here. It's nice to see us put together a full lineup where we can score and be a threat in any inning."