The Houston Astros were left with a bad taste in their mouths after unceremoniously being swept in their previous series.
The Astros have answered that indignity by winning the first three contests of a four-game series against the host Cleveland Indians. Houston will vie for its sixth sweep of the campaign on Sunday afternoon versus Cleveland, which is mired in a season-high five-game losing skid.
The Astros were without several key cogs in their 3-2 victory on Saturday, namely former American League MVP Jose Altuve (rest), former Indians star Michael Brantley (right side discomfort) and Kyle Tucker (back spasms).
“I didn’t feel short-handed at all. I feel like the young guys coming in are putting in the work,” Carlos Correa said.
Correa followed up his run-scoring double in Houston’s 6-3 win on Friday by belting a solo homer to highlight a two-RBI performance the following night.
Abraham Toro had one RBI and two runs scored on Friday before adding a solo homer among his two hits on Saturday.
The contributions have been embraced by manager Dusty Baker, whose team is navigating its way through 20 games in a brutal 20-day stretch.
“I know they’re tired, but they’re digging deep,” Baker said. “This was a big win for us (on Saturday).”
Houston will turn to right-hander Zack Greinke (8-2, 3.65 ERA) on Sunday in a bid to complete the series sweep.
Greinke, 37, followed up four wins in a five-start stretch by settling for a no-decision against the Baltimore Orioles on Monday. The former AL Cy Young Award recipient allowed three runs on eight hits in five innings before exiting after 96 pitches.
Greinke owns a 10-9 record with a 3.75 ERA in 29 career appearances against Cleveland. Cesar Hernandez (5-for-13) has fared well versus the hurler, however Franmil Reyes is singing a vastly different tune by going 1-for-7 with three strikeouts.
Hernandez launched a three-run homer on Friday before going 0-for-3 the following night. Despite Saturday’s troubles, he is 7-for-23 with two homers and five RBIs during the current homestand.
Eddie Rosario had two of the four hits on Saturday for the Indians, who were without star Jose Ramirez (elbow) for the second straight game.
Cleveland is struggling as it deals with injuries to pitchers Shane Bieber (shoulder), Aaron Civale (finger) and Zach Plesac (thumb).
“We’re going through a challenging time. But when we do it together, and we’re pulling in the same direction, it sure makes it a lot better,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “We’re supposed to be there for them, but they are there for us and that means a lot.”
Cleveland right-hander Cal Quantrill (0-2, 4.11) will provide the opposition on Sunday.
Quantrill, 26, recorded his fifth straight no-decision on Wednesday after permitting four runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings against the Detroit Tigers.
Quantrill has yet to secure a decision in two career relief appearances versus Houston. He has yielded one run on three hits in 2 1/3 innings against the Astros.
–Field Level Media