Bats rise up for DH split with clutch B2B HRs

June 27th, 2021

DETROIT -- For much of Saturday, the Astros’ offense was about as punchless as it had been all season. Astros manager Dusty Baker chalked it up to Thursday’s early-morning arrival into Motown, saying the couple of days following a late-night trip can take the vigor out of a team. 

That was clearly evident, as baseball’s most potent offense struggled to score just one run through the first 12 innings of Saturday’s seven-inning doubleheader against the Tigers. But things changed in a span of three pitches in the sixth inning of Game 2 when Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa blasted back-to-back homers to send the Astros to a 3-2 win at Comerica Park.

The Astros, who averaged 8.5 runs per game during an 11-game win streak that was snapped with a 3-1 loss in Game 1, scored only four runs in two seven-inning games Saturday but were relieved to split the doubleheader. They have won 12 of their last 13 games.

“It looked like they had the blahs,” Baker said. “That was a big swing by Alvarez and an even bigger swing by Correa. That ball was leaned on. It was mashed. I don’t know where they got the energy from, but we came up with just enough to win the ballgame, and then our bullpen did the rest.”

Four outs away from getting swept in the doubleheader, Alvarez hit an opposite-field homer to left-center field off Michael Fulmer to tie the game. Two pitches later, Correa put the Astros ahead with a 399-foot laser into the left-field seats. He has seven home runs and 21 RBIs in 21 games in June.

“It felt great, man,” Correa said. “To hit that go-ahead homer knowing the arms we have in the bullpen, it was great. Very glad we got that win. After that first game, it was a must-win today for us so we can go back to the hotel happy, and we accomplished that. We feel very good about that win.” 

Alvarez, who homered to a similar part of Comerica Park in Thursday’s series-opening win, worked a 3-2 count against Fulmer before hitting a 94.1 mph sinker 388 feet into the Astros bullpen to tie the game. 

“I felt like I went up there with a plan,” Alvarez said. “I was looking for something middle-middle away, and I was able to find a pitch just like that in a 3-2 count, and I was able to put a good swing on it.” 

Correa had the best seat in the house for Alvarez’s 13th homer of the season, standing on deck. They would soon share a big hug in the dugout after Houston had the lead. 

“It’s very impressive to see a guy his age [23] putting up at-bats like he does, putting up numbers like that, the homers that he hits,” Correa said. “He can draw a walk, he can control the zone and at the same time, he’s so powerful. He’s the perfect package right there for a player that’s going to hit fourth in your lineup.” 

Perhaps no one was happier to see the game-changing homers than Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers Jr., who took the win. He struck out seven batters and allowed two runs and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“They’ve been swinging the bat extremely well,” McCullers said. “Everybody has, but especially Carlos the last however many weeks it’s been. It’s been fun to watch. He’s locked in right now, feeling great and his swing looks amazing. Yordan, those balls he hits -- the second one of the series -- that’s some serious real estate to cover to get a ball out of there. Great job battling until we broke through, and [relievers Ryne] Stanek and [Ryan] Pressly did a great job.”