Tribe sweeps Astros behind early outburst

May 21st, 2017

HOUSTON -- The Indians continued their dominance of the Astros, polishing off a three-game sweep of Houston on Sunday afternoon behind a career-high-tying five RBIs from -- including a three-run homer -- in an 8-6 win at Minute Maid Park.

The three-game skid matches the longest of the season for the Astros, who went 1-5 against the Tribe this season. Every game in the season series had been close prior to Sunday, when the Indians rocked Astros starter Joe Musgrove (3-4) for seven runs on eight hits in three-plus innings and jumped to an 8-1 lead, before holding off the Astros late.

"We got on them early and we stayed on them," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We definitely have a respect for them. They keep playing. There's a reason they have a lot of come-from-behind wins."

Gomes, , and each collected two hits for the Indians.

Indians starter (3-4) held the Astros to three runs, including homers by and , on four hits and struck out seven batters in 5 2/3 innings.

The Astros rallied in the ninth when clubbed a two-out, two-run homer, capping a 13-pitch at-bat against Zach McAllister, and followed with a shot to cut the deficit to 8-6. Four of the Astros' six hits were homers.

"Nothing went really right today after the first inning," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "This is a good team across the way. We all know that. They're an excellent team when you give them an extra 90 feet, and we did that multiple times with some walks, and that's a difficult way to live versus a good team."


Two-out walks set up Gomes: Musgrove recorded two ground-ball outs to start the third inning before issuing consecutive walks to Encarnacion and , setting up Gomes to break the game open. He launched a 457-foot home run to left field, according to Statcast™, which is the longest by an Indians player this season, besting 's 456-foot blast on April 27 off the Astros' .

"The two-out walks really put him in jeopardy, and then obviously the big home run on a misexecuted pitch," Hinch said. "With Joe, it's a fine line of command and control and being inside the strike zone too much versus having his command and control fall apart."

Squandered chance: Considering the Indians' vaunted bullpen is a big reason why they are 17-0 when leading after six innings, the Astros lamented stranding a couple of runners in scoring position in the fourth. Two outs after Altuve hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 8-3, the Astros put runners at second and third for Bregman. He was third in the American League in batting average with runners in scoring position (.394) entering the game, but he flied out to right field.


"This is the hottest team [Astros] in the AL. It was good to come in here and know that at some point, we're the hottest team in the AL. It was good to come in here and prove that we can play good baseball and win some ballgames." -- Gomes, on handing the Astros their first sweep of the season

"It shouldn't surprise anyone who watches the Astros. This is how we play. That's the bottom line. He represents that in that at-bat." -- Hinch, on Gonzalez's homer to end a 13-pitch at-bat with two outs in the ninth


Houston optioned lefty reliever to Triple-A Fresno following Sunday's game after throwing four innings in his Astros debut and first big league appearance since last June 24. He allowed one run on two hits, striking out five batters. With Tolliver down for a few days and long reliever Brad Peacock making a spot start on Monday, the Astros need a fresh arm.

"He picked us up big," Hinch said. "We needed him to lengthen the game as much as he could. … He went on a pitching clinic. He really did a good job mixing his pitches. The more tired he got, the better he got. Whether that's relaxing and getting into the big leagues for the first time in a while or whatever, he picked us up."


Indians: Cleveland begins a two-game set in Cincinnati at 7:10 p.m. ET on Monday before returning home to play the Reds for another two. Josh Tomlin will make his ninth start of the season for the Indians. is scheduled to start for the Reds.

Astros: Peacock will make a spot start as the Astros continue their homestand with four games against the Tigers, starting at 7:10 p.m. CT on Monday. Making his first start of the season, the right-hander has been solid in relief, with a .127 batting average against.

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