DENVER -- Coors Field has been living up to its reputation as a hitter’s paradise this year, in a season when offense is surging throughout the league. The Astros found that out Tuesday night and had to rely on contributions from every corner of the clubhouse to outlast the Rockies,
DENVER -- Coors Field has been living up to its reputation as a hitter’s paradise this year, in a season when offense is surging throughout the league. The Astros found that out Tuesday night and had to rely on contributions from every corner of the clubhouse to outlast the Rockies, 9-8, for their fourth win in a row.
“I don’t come here a lot, and I don’t manage here a lot, but it feels like every time I do come here, it’s a game that never ends and a game you’re never quite in control of and never quite out of,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. “Good team win for us. We had a lot of people step up and do a lot of good things.”
• Box score
Here are the three biggest heroes from the Astros’ hard-fought win:
Gurriel stays hot
First baseman Yuli Gurriel, the only hitter in the top four spots of the batting order for either the Astros or Rockies on Tuesday who didn’t make the 2019 All-Star Game, went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs, including the go-ahead shot that capped a four-run seventh inning. He led off the second inning with a homer.
“He’s getting pretty good pitches to hit, and he’s not missing them,” Hinch said. “They’ve given him some pitches to hit with guys in scoring position, and he’s staying low. He’s not so concerned about getting the ball too far into the air, he’s hitting the ball and it’s carrying for him. He’s coming up with some really big hits.”
It was the second career multihomer game for Gurriel, who’s hitting .414 (12-for-29) with five homers and nine RBIs in his past seven games. That includes a pair of walk-off hits -- a 10th-inning homer Friday and a 10th-inning double Saturday.
“I’m trying to find good pitches to hit and trying to identify good pitches and trying to start a better second half,” he said.
This season will mark the first time since 2013 that second baseman José Altuve won’t play in the All-Star Game. A first month in which he didn’t have his legs completely under him following offseason knee surgery led to a stint on the injured list and a subpar start, but Altuve appears to be back in peak form.
Altuve had a career-high-tying four hits and stole two bases, which shows you how good his legs are feeling. He has seven hits in his past two games and is hitting .340 (18-for-53) in 12 games since coming off the injured list on June 19.
“He hasn’t forgotten how to play,” Hinch said. “When he gets these hits in bunches and he starts to run the bases aggressively, I think we all collectively exhale and feel really good for him. People have no idea how hard he’s worked and what he’s put in and the stress he carries when he doesn’t do well. It was great to see.”
That’s how you spell relief
With right-hander Jose Urquidy going 3 2/3 innings in his Major League debut, the Astros turned to five relief pitchers to keep the Rockies from blowing the game open.
Josh James struck out Charlie Blackmon to end the fourth and strand a pair of runners before the Rockies tagged him for five runs in the fifth inning to take a 7-5 lead. Will Harris gave up four hits while limiting the Rockies to one run in the sixth before Houston slammed the door.
“You know coming in, you're going to have to come in and find a way to get three outs and realize you may give up some hits, may give up some runs, it’s just part of the way it goes,” Harris said. “Today I gave up a few hits, but you have to realize the big inning is what hurts you here.”
Chris Devenski pitched a scoreless seventh, All-Star Ryan Pressly threw a 1-2-3 eighth -- retiring All-Stars Trevor Story, David Dahl and Nolan Arenado -- and closer Roberto Osuna pitched around a two-out single in the ninth for his 18th save.
“We’ve used them a lot, and they went through a little spell there where they weren’t perfect and they had every right to have a bad day, and today wasn’t a bad day,” Hinch said. “It was an excellent day by them. Pressly coming in to face the middle of their order, and then Osuna coming with no room for error in a ballpark that is very dangerous. … We all are very fortunate those two are on our team.”
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.