The Houston Astros, who are on a 16-4 roll, will take a seven-game winning streak into the opener of a three-game series against the host Baltimore Orioles on Monday night.
The Astros completed a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox on Sunday afternoon with an 8-2 victory and finished their homestand at 6-0.
As much as the Astros have been winning, the Orioles have been losing.
After ending an eight-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over the visiting Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, the Orioles lost the final two games of the series.
The Orioles hit nine home runs combined in the two losses, including two by Trey Mancini and one by Pedro Severino in the 7-4 loss on Sunday.
Ryan Mountcastle had three of Baltimore’s six homers in a 10-7 loss to Toronto on Saturday.
The Astros will start right-hander Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) on Monday. The Orioles will start left-hander Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76).
Odorizzi is 6-4 with a 4.17 ERA in 20 career games (19 starts) against Baltimore. Akin has never faced the Astros.
With his homers on Sunday. Mancini has 14 for the season and 100 for his career in 531 games. Among players who started their careers with Baltimore, he is the fastest to reach 100 homers with the team.
After missing the 2020 season with stage 3 colon cancer, Mancini said the achievement “means a lot.”
“There were a lot of times last year I thought I’d always be stuck on 86 and not get the opportunity to hit anymore,” Mancini said. “It’s definitely something I cherish and won’t take for granted.”
His two-run blast in the eighth inning Sunday gave the Orioles 14 straight runs scored on home runs.
“When you face good pitchers, you’ve got to try to string some hits together, and that’s not something we’ve done really well this year, to be really good up and down the order and grind at-bats out,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “But it’s nice to see us drive the ball.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker said that right fielder Kyle Tucker (illness) could return during the series in Baltimore.
Tucker, who has missed the past six games, started to work out on Friday. “We’ve got to get his strength back,” Baker said. “Got to get his weight back up.”
He lost 10 pounds with what has been termed a “stomach bug.” He tested negative for COVID-19.
The Astros are not so certain about the return of third baseman Alex Bregman (strained left quadriceps).
“Honestly there’s no timetable, really,” Bregman said on Saturday. “It’s unfortunate. I’m just going to trust the rehab process. I don’t really know. It’s going to be based on how I progress and how I feel.”
In their win on Sunday, the Astros had a career-best four hits from third baseman Abraham Toro. The 24-year-old is 7-for-11 with five RBIs in three games since being recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land, where he was hitting .352 with two homers and 11 RBIs in 17 games. He was 1-for-12 in April with Houston.
“He’s been playing great,” Baker said. “I think it helped him to go down there and play every day, find his stroke, find his confidence. He’s given us all that we needed.”
–Field Level Media