HOUSTON -- With a bruised city on their minds and a patch with the word "Strong" on their chests in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park and delivered a lift by bashing the Mets, 12-8, in the first game of
HOUSTON -- With a bruised city on their minds and a patch with the word "Strong" on their chests in the wake of the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park and delivered a lift by bashing the Mets, 12-8, in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
The Astros, playing their first game at home since Hurricane Harvey battered the city a week ago, banged out 17 hits -- the 16th time this season they've had at least 15 hits in a game -- and built a 7-0 lead after two innings to spoil the return of Mets starter Matt Harvey.
"It was good to be back home and play in front of the home crowd we did have, and for people that didn't come I was very happy to be on TV for them and get them distracted," Astros outfielder Josh Reddick said. "Any time you can win it feels good, but any time you can come back after something like this and win big, it feels even better."
George Springer (2-for-4 with a homer), Jose Altuve (3-for-4, three runs), Reddick (3-for-5, two RBIs) and Marwin Gonzalez (2-for-5, two RBIs) led the way with the Astros' bats.
"A lot of guys call this place home, and for us to come today in the first game and score runs early, it got the crowd into it," Springer said. "For a lot of people who might have had things on their mind, even though they're here. For us to come out and score four and then score three was huge for us."
The game was played before an announced crowd of 30,319 that was eager for some kind of normalcy in a city that was ravaged by floods last week.
"To have anybody be able to get here was pretty remarkable, and just the trying times," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We appreciate anybody that could come out. More people came as the game went on and the crowd filled in. Really thank you to the fans that came out."
The win capped an emotional game in which first responders to the storm were honored in a pregame ceremony that included Hinch taking the public address microphone to address the crowd.
"The emotions were really getting back to Houston," Hinch said. "Playing the game, this is what we do. We're a baseball team. We play games and we were prepared and ready to play. The emotions came with landing in Houston the other day and getting to our families. The emotions were strong to be here and be with all the people."
Harvey, making his first start since being placed on the disabled list on June 16 with a stress injury to the scapula bone in his right shoulder, lasted only two innings in the shortest start of his career. He was rocked for seven runs and eight hits.
Houston starter Charlie Morton (11-6) struck out nine batters and allowed two runs in five innings. He left the game with a 9-2 lead, but the Mets scored five times in the seventh against the Astros' bullpen to cut the lead to 10-7. The 11 wins for Morton are a career high.
"People look to their sports teams and their cities in times like this," Morton said. "For me, as much as I can do in terms of baseball, I'm giving it everything I have. I really like how they brought out the state flag [pregame] as well as the American flag and I like what A.J. said, and I was trying to stay focused on making pitches and not get emotional."
The Astros began the day with a 12-game lead over the Mariners in the American League West standings.
"There was definitely a lot of emotion before the game," Flores said. "It looked like they had some motivation. … I talked to Altuve and [Marwin] Gonzalez and they said that they were emotional. They wanted to give [the fans] something to cheer about."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Springer dinger: Springer stretched the lead to 6-0 when he cranked his 30th homer of the season, a two-run blast to left field in the second inning. Springer's 30 homers this year, which came in 114 games, surpasses his previous career high of 29 homers set last year in 162 games. After crossing home plate, Springer patted the patch on his chest the Astros are wearing the rest of the season to honor Hurricane Harvey victims.
"These next few weeks, games, days, whatever, I know that this team is going to play with a lot of emotion," Springer said. "We're going to play with a lot of heart. The city's been through a lot over this last few days and this game is for the city. The goal is to win the next one, but for me that was for them. It was an emotional moment for me."
Springer gave his game-used cleats and a bat to the Astros fan that returned the ball he hit for the 30th home run.
Wilmer slams one:The Mets cut the lead to 10-7 in the fifth inning when Wilmer Flores tagged relief pitcher Will Harris for a grand slam, capping a five-run inning. It was the fourth of Flores' career. Two of the runs on the homer were charged to Frances Martes, who gave up three (two earned) in 1 1/3 innings of relief.
"I think I'm driving the ball a little bit better," Flores said. "That's what I'm trying to do, try to get my pitch and drive it."
"A.J. is a class guy. I tip my hat to the players. They came into a tough situation. The [hotel] lobby was filled yesterday when it was time to go out and do some things. We sent them to different places and they got something out of it. You've got to feel good about yourself when you can help someone in need, and those guys did it yesterday." -- Mets manager Terry Collins, on Hinch publicly thanking Mets players for contributing to hurricane relief causes on their off-day
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
This was the Astros' first doubleheader in Houston since Aug. 27, 1999, at the Astrodome.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With men on the corners and one out in the seventh inning, Alex Bregman hit a chopper down the third-base line, where Asdrubal Cabrera fielded it and fired home in time to cut down the lead runner attempting to score. The Astros challenged that Travis d'Arnaud illegally blocked home plate, but umpires confirmed the ruling via a 53-second replay review.
Mets:Seth Lugo will make his second start since returning from the disabled list in Game 2 of the Mets' doubleheader against the Astros. Lugo, who is still pitching with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, threw just 70 pitches over 3 2/3 innings in his return last weekend. First pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Astros: Brad Peacock got the nod for the 7:10 p.m. CT second game. Peacock has gone 7-2 with a 3.44 ERA as a starter this year (16 starts).
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter.
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook.