More than a week and a half ago, the Astros, coming off a win, departed for their longest road trip, and they were essentially in a neck-and-neck tie with the Mariners in what is turning out to be delightfully interesting American League West race.
Houston returns home with an 11-game win streak, having just completed a 10-0 run through Arlington, Oakland and Kansas City. Over their past 11 games, the Astros have outscored opponents, 81-40, posted a .327 cumulative batting average, knocked 21 homers and compiled sterling ERAs: 3.80 for the rotation; 1.29 for the bullpen.
For historical context, the Astros' undefeated road trip is one of only seven that have stretched 10 games or longer since 1953. The most recent was the Indians' 11-0 roadie during their 22-game win streak in 2017. The others: Oakland in 2002 (10-0); Seattle in '02 (10-0); Atlanta in 1992 (10-0); Cincinnati in '57 (12-0); and the Yankees in '53 (14-0).
The win streak moved the Astros into first place, but the space between them and the Mariners is hardly comfortable. Seattle is 7-3 in its past 10 games and is only 1 1/2 games behind Houston in the AL West.
• Morning Lineup Podcast looks at Astros' streak
Biggest jump: The D-backs jumped four spots, from No. 13 to No. 9. The season is proving to be one of inconsistency for Arizona, but after a rough patch, it has stabilized, posting an 11-5 record in June. Since the start of the month, the D-backs have scored a Major League-best 103 runs. That's already 26 more runs than they scored in all of May, when they posted an MLB-low 77.
Biggest drop: There wasn't a lot of movement in this area this week, unsurprising given we're almost three months into the season. The Cubs (No. 4 to No. 6), Braves (No. 6 to No. 8) and Angels (No. 11 to No. 13) all dropped two spots. In the case of Chicago and Atlanta, this is nothing more than trying to fit a bunch of very good teams into the top eight. The Halos' situation is a little more dire -- they put a whole mess of players on the DL in the past few days and have a challenge ahead of them while waiting for everyone to get healthy.
Power Rankings Top 5
1. Astros (2 last week)
An 11-game winning streak, by the numbers: Evan Gattis -- six homers, 21 RBIs and a .386 average; Jose Altuve -- 11 runs scored and a .480 on-base percentage; Alex Bregman -- .375 OBP, 13 runs scored, 11 RBIs, four homers. From the pitching side, relievers Chris Devenski, Hector Rondon, Tony Sipp and Collin McHugh all had 0.00 ERAs.
2. Yankees (1)
The Yankees have won 13 of their past 17 games, and the bullpen has posted a 0.72 ERA over that span, allowing four earned runs over 49 2/3 innings. Among the top relievers are Albertin Chapman, who has allowed one earned run in his past 15 2/3 innings, and Dellin Betances, who has strung together 10 consecutive scoreless innings. The Yanks have a heavy schedule ahead of them -- they'll play two in Washington on Monday, to make up for games lost due to weather during their rain-soaked road trip a month ago.
3. Red Sox (3)
After a 17-inning scoreless streak, the Red Sox bats came to life on Sunday in a 9-3 win over the Mariners, allowing them to gain a split of the four-game set in Seattle. The Red Sox, one win shy of 50 for the season, have relied on their strong starting pitching. Boston starters have held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 12 of the past 14 games. The lineup has also feasted on right-handed starting pitching, posting a 41-15 record. Even before they tagged Mike Leake for five earned runs on Sunday, Sox hitters led the Majors with a .268 average and .475 slugging percentage off righties.
4. Mariners (7)
With its 46-26 start, half of Seattle's wins have been by one run (23-10). Since 1908, no other team has had 23 one-run wins in the first 71 games of a season. Also, the Mariners have the third-best home record in the Majors at 25-14. The only two teams ahead of them in that category happen to be the teams they're playing on the road this week -- they begin a three-game set with the Yankees on Tuesday, and then move on to Boston for three next weekend. If Mariners fans are looking for some more optimism to add to an already happy season, Seattle is 10-4 against the AL East this year.
5. Brewers (8)
Though the Brewers lost to the Phillies on Sunday, the game wasn't without its positives. Eric Thames, who missed a month and a half with a torn ligament in his thumb, knocked two homers, a good sign that he's getting back into a groove after logging just one hit in 10 at-bats since coming off the DL. Other offensive contributors include Lorenzo Cain, who is slashing .370/.469/.593 in his past seven games, and Christian Yelich, who is batting .382 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in the 37 Milwaukee wins he's played in this year.
The rest of the Top 20
6. Cubs (4)
7. Nationals (5)
8. Braves (6)
9. D-backs (13)
10. Indians (9)
11. Dodgers (10)
12. Cardinals (12)
13. Angels (11)
14. Phillies (14)
15. Rockies (15)
16. Athletics (16)
17. Giants (17)
18. Pirates (18)
19. Rays (20)
20. Blue Jays (19)