DETROIT -- It was a milestone Wednesday afternoon for Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman, who notched his 50th double, 100th run scored and 100th RBI in the fifth inning of a 5-4 win that completed a sweep of the Tigers at Comerica Park.Bregman went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and
DETROIT -- It was a milestone Wednesday afternoon for Astros All-Star third baseman Alex Bregman, who notched his 50th double, 100th run scored and 100th RBI in the fifth inning of a 5-4 win that completed a sweep of the Tigers at Comerica Park.
Bregman went 2-for-5 with three RBIs and became the first Astros player to drive in 100 runs in a season since Carlos Lee in 2009 when he hit a two-run double in the fifth, scoring Jake Marisnick and George Springer to give the Astros a 3-2 lead. He scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly for his 100th run.
"It's been a lot of fun and hopefully we can keep it rolling," said Bregman, who's put himself in the thick of the American League Most Valuable Player Award discussion. "We've got 16 games left, so we've got to keep the foot on the gas pedal."
Behind Bregman and nine strikeouts in five innings from starter Gerrit Cole (14-5), the Astros won for the 10th time in 11 games and 17th time in the past 21 games. Houston leads Oakland by three games in the AL West.
"Just a great road trip for us," Bregman said. "Some tough travel to deal with, but you know at the end of the day we grinded through it and found a way to win games. That's what this team is all about."
The fifth-inning double was Bregman's Major League-leading 50th, making him the first Astros player to reach 50 doubles in a season since Lance Berkman had 55 in 2001 and the first player to log the majority of his games at third base from any team to hit 50 doubles and 30 home runs in a season.
Berkman (2001) is the only other player in Houston franchise history to have at least 100 runs scored, 50 doubles and 100 RBIs in a season. Bregman is the seventh Astro to reach 100 RBIs and 100 runs in a season and the first player in the Major Leagues to hit 30 homers and 50 doubles and drive in 100 runs since Jose Pujols with the Angels in 2012.
"He's having quite a season because of the preparation he's doing, the lessons he's learning, and the application of the game has been unreal," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.
Bregman, who's never satisfied, said when it's time to look back at the season he's going to focus on his slow start. He hit .259 with one homer in March/April and .265 with four homers in May before taking off.
"I"m going to look back and say there's so much room to improve and I've got to get a lot better," he said.
Hard-throwing Astros rookie reliever Josh James picked up a weary bullpen by throwing three innings and overcoming a two-run homer by Nicholas Castellanos in the seventh that cut the Houston lead to 5-4. Thomas Pressly pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save with the Astros.
"His poise continues to impress me," Hinch said of James. "His stuff impresses me a little bit more. He's got a lot of weapons to go after hitters. Today's a lesson in pitch execution for him, but he still pitched well enough to go back out, and [he] did his job."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Springer, who went 2-for-5, came up with a possible game-saving catch in the eighth inning. With the tying run at first base and two outs, Dawel Lugo hit a pop fly down the right-field line. Springer got a good jump on the ball and raced 54 feet in 3.4 seconds, according to Statcast™, and laid out to make a tremendous diving catch near the foul line for the final out, preventing Jim Adduci from scoring.
"It was a pretty instinctual play," Hinch said. "[Lugo had] been late all day, and I think George on his own took a step towards the line to start the play and got a great jump on it. With the runner in motion, a lot of bad can happen if he doesn't come up with that. It's the right play to dive, certainly the right play to be aggressive. It's hard to say game-saving because you don't know how the game would have played out, but at that point, to keep the game [from being] tied and keep the momentum out of their dugout was huge."
Bregman extended his on-base streak to 39 consecutive games, which is the fifth-longest streak in club history and longest since 1998. He's also reached base safely in 51 consecutive road games, matching Jeff Bagwell's single-season record set in 1999.
HE SAID IT
"We were joking after the game because I threatened him with a day off pretty soon because it looked like he was starting to fade a little bit, get a little tired. He made mention to me how good he's doing." -- Hinch, on Bregman
Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.59 ERA) will start for the Astros in Friday's 7:10 p.m. CT series opener against the D-backs at Minute Maid Park. The lefty has gone 7-2 with a 2.81 ERA in his past 13 starts, with 10 quality starts in that span. Lefty Robbie Ray (5-2, 4.18) will start for Arizona.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.