BALTIMORE -- The Astros didn’t have the offensive explosion they’ve had recently, but it didn’t matter in their 3-1 win Tuesday night at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The victory extended their win streak to nine games, their longest since a 10-game streak from May 8-18, 2019.
Houston put the first run on the board in the second inning. However, Myles Straw's second homer of the season, and third of his career, wasn’t a no-doubter. Straw smacked the fourth pitch of the at-bat to the top of the left-field wall. The ball bounced back into play and it was initially ruled a double. Manager Dusty Baker emerged from the dugout, requesting a second look.
The Astros won the challenge and Straw was awarded a home run. His 367-foot homer broke the scoreless tie and put Houston on top.
“When you start to feel like you can hit home runs, you hit home runs,” said Baker of Straw’s second homer in seven games.
“I’d like to, but they haven’t asked,” Straw joked about participating in the Home Run Derby. “[I’ve been] working with our hitting coaches on timing. Just working on little things in my swing and being ready to hit. Not being too passive and being aggressive.”
Straw again came up big for his club when he smacked the go-ahead RBI single in the top of the seventh inning, driving Chas McCormick home from first base.
“That was big,” said Baker. “I mean, Straw was most of our offense. We scored three runs, and he drove in two of them. So [it] was a great night.”
Baker has preached being aggressive in at-bats, especially to Straw, who struggled at the beginning of the season.
When asked how much Baker's message rang in his head while he was at the plate, Straw replied: "A lot. ... Guys are gonna throw strikes to me. So when he tells me to be aggressive, he's always right. I feel like we've been taking really good at-bats as a team lately. A whole lot of swinging in the zone and taking the ball. So I think that's a big key to success right now. I think we're looking forward to staying on that path and continuing to put good at-bats together.”
Zack Greinke -- who tossed 7 1/3 innings, struck out four and allowed one run on five hits and one walk -- has had a front-row seat to Straw’s improvement and maturation as an everyday player.
“I think he's done great defensively,” said Greinke. “He had a couple of not-so-perfect games early on. But overall, he's done great. Then his at-bats have been productive. ... He’s gotten better as the season has gone on.”
Baker continued the high praise of the young outfielder. The Astros’ skipper has been impressed in what he called his first “real look” at Straw. He appeared in 28 games defensively in 2020 under Baker.
“I didn't really know him that well, and last year wasn't indicative for me to know him,” said Baker. “He was spot playing, pinch-running and going in for defense. He's stronger than I thought, physically. He's a wiry, strong guy, and he works hard. Right now, he's doing his thing and we love it. We just got to keep him doing his thing. He’s only going to get better to me.”