DENVER -- The Astros' offense was about as punchless as it could be for much of Tuesday night's game against the Rockies. Houston had managed only a pair of walks after the second inning and had been sent down in 16 consecutive at-bats by the Rockies heading to extra innings.Things
DENVER -- The Astros' offense was about as punchless as it could be for much of Tuesday night's game against the Rockies. Houston had managed only a pair of walks after the second inning and had been sent down in 16 consecutive at-bats by the Rockies heading to extra innings.
Things turned suddenly in the 10th inning with the Astros sending 10 batters to the plate and erupting for six runs, including a two-run homer by George Springer, to beat the Rockies, 8-2, in the interleague series opener Coors Field.
"I feel like we smelled a little blood there at the end," said Astros outfielder Tony Kemp, who singled home the winning run.
Josh Reddick opened the 10th with a single off Wade Davis that skipped past center fielder Charlie Blackmon, allowing Reddick to take third on an error. Kemp put the Astros ahead one out later with a clutch single, and rookie Kyle Tucker added a two-run, pinch-hit triple to make it 5-2. Springer followed with his 17th homer.
"What's not to like?" Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "The entire inning really started off in our favor. We took advantage of a mistake. Reddick had the clean hit to start the inning. There was a lot of ways that inning could have gone, and we continued to put up good at-bats."
Hinch tinkered with the idea of Kemp putting down a bunt, saying he told him to swing away if he got something he liked.
"I was trying to help the team any way I could," Kemp said. "He talked to me and right before I went up to the plate and he said, 'Hey, you're a good hitter,' and that's all I needed to hear right there."
Tucker, the youngest player in the American League who was hitting .139 entering the game, jumped on the first pitch and sent it into right-center field for his first career triple. He admitted it was a huge confidence boost.
"I got to third and everyone was jumping around and cheering and that's awesome," he said. "It feels better throughout the course of the season, coming back tomorrow and everybody is happy. We'll play better off of that."
The Astros improved to 35-15 on the road with their seventh consecutive win over Colorado, dating to 2013.
The Astros made the Rockies pay for a fielding error by shortstop Trevor Story to start the game when Alex Bregman clubbed his 21st homer of the season on the 10th pitch thrown by Rockies starter Tyler Anderson for a 2-0 lead. Marwin Gonzalez led off the second with a single and the Astros didn't get another hit until the 10th.
"The game was really the first inning and the last inning," Hinch said. "We had great at-bats and then in the middle parts we got a little bit greedy in and around the strike zone. Their guy [Anderson] is really good getting the ball off the barrel with his cutter and change and his funky delivery. We had a couple of guys picked off. There was a lot of mess in the middle part of the game, and Gerrit was cruising up until his last inning."
Astros starter Gerrit Cole rolled through six scoreless innings, striking out nine batters, before back-to-back doubles by Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez to start the seventh and a one-out single by Gerardo Parra tied the game at 2 and ended his night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Astros reliever Joe Smith struck out a pair of batters in the eighth after hitting Chris Iannetta to start the inning. He got Ian Desmond to hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who made a fielding error to allow the pinch-runner to take third and keep the inning alive. Smith recovered to get Arenado to pop out in foul territory for a huge out.
"That whole inning sets up and the last guy we want to come to the bat was Arenado," Hinch said. "When the inning continued and we make the error behind him, Arenado gets up with first and third, and he gets him out and Hector Rondon has a really good inning [in the ninth]. Joe Smith, Collin McHugh and Hector Rondon, that's the primary bullpen to come in for us and get some big outs."
The six runs the Astros scored in the 10th were their most in an extra inning since scoring seven on May 7, 2000, at the Dodgers.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With the Astros just having broken a 2-2 tie in the top of the 10th inning, Springer stepped to the plate against Davis, and lined a ball just over the left-field wall above the outstretched glove of Parra. The ruling on the field was that it was a two-run homer, Springer's 17th of the season, extending Houston's lead to 7-2. Upon replay review to determine whether there was fan interference, the home run was confirmed. A fan had caught the ball, but was not ruled to have reached over into the field of play to do so.
HE SAID IT
"It was fun. Honestly, that's the most fun I had playing in a baseball game in a long time. Being in that situation and the crowd and stuff, it's just so much fun to play in front of. They had a great crowd and Houston [fans] travel well. Crazy stuff happens here. That was one of the coolest games to ever be a part of." -- Smith, on the atmoshpere at Coors Field on Tuesday
Right-hander Charlie Morton (11-2, 2.96 ERA) makes his first post-All-Star Game start when the Astros close out the two-game set against the Rockies at 7:40 p.m. CT Wednesday night at Coors Field. Morton hasn't pitched since allowing three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings July 12 against Oakland. Right-hander Jon Gray (8-7, 5.44 ERA) will start for Colorado.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.