Already the hottest team in baseball, the Houston Astros used their weekend series against the Texas Rangers as so much more rocket fuel. Houston surged to its third consecutive series sweep and extended their winning streak to a season-high ten games.
The triumphant showing marks a notable reversal of one of last season’s most frustrating storylines. So far this year, the ‘Stros have wrestled six victories from Rangers in just seven games – in 2016, they managed four wins in nineteen Lone Star Series matchups.
That didn’t stop the Astros from coming out swinging in game one. Carlos Correa, fresh off AL Player of the Month honors, cranked a three-run home run into the stratosphere to rattle Rangers ace Yu Darvish and send the ‘Stros on their way to a 7-1 win. Dallas Keuchel contributed six scoreless innings to the effort, and lumbering catcher Brian McCann even managed to steal a bag in the assertive victory.
Lance McCullers Jr. didn’t have his best stuff on Saturday night, struggling through 4 1/3 innings on 96 pitches. But Jose Altuve and Carlos Beltran chipped in three hits each and the Houston bullpen came up aces to claim game two by a score of 6-5.
George Springer led off Sunday’s matinee with a long home run and the Astros never looked back, riding six strong innings from Brad Peacock to a 7-2 conquest. Initially plugged into the rotation as a spot starter, Peacock has delivered three stabilizing starts and is sitting on a cool 2.30 ERA. His latest gem made it ten wins in a row for this dominant Houston club.
Getting to eleven won’t be easy. Mike Fiers squares off against Ian Kennedy and the Kansas City Royals tonight, in the first of three games at beautiful Kauffman Stadium. Even though the Royals currently occupy last place in the AL Central, they’re still a talented club. The team retains much of the core that brought a World Series championship to Missouri in 2015, and they’re one of just two clubs to win a series against the Astros this season, taking two of three games at Minute Maid in April.
Fiers Heats Up
After limping through his first seven starts, Astros righty Mike Fiers is starting to come around. The crafty soft-tosser is running a 3.24 ERA over his last three outings, with fourteen strikeouts against five walks. He’s trimmed just shy of one full run off his season ERA in that time.
Leadoff man George Springer was named AL Player of the Week for his performance over the last seven days. Springer slugged his way to a .500 average with five home runs, including two in Sunday’s series finale in Arlington. For the season, Springer is batting .280 with 16 homers and 37 runs batted in. He carries a nine-game hitting streak into Monday’s opener with Kansas City.
A Texas-Sized Bargain
The Astros announced a new ticket package ahead of their June 12-14 home series against the Texas Rangers. The “Beat the Rangers” package grants fans access to all three of the series’ contests and will only set you back $99. Visit astros.com/BeatTheRangers to snag your seats while they last.