Hunter Brown carried a shutout bid into the seventh inning and benefited from ample run support as the Houston Astros recorded nine extra-base hits and rolled to a 17-4 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday.
Yainer Diaz, Jose Abreu, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez all homered for the Astros, the latter three doing so in the bottom of the seventh inning off Rays reserve catcher Rene Pinto. But Houston held a nine-run lead before things got silly in that frame, as Chas McCormick, Diaz and Jake Meyers all posted multi-hit games from the bottom third of the order.
Diaz started the uprising against Rays rookie right-hander Taj Bradley (5-7) with a two-run homer to straightaway center field in the second, his 13th blast of the season. He scored two innings later when Jeremy Pena cleared the bases with a double to left off Rays reliever Kevin Kelly before delivering an RBI double as part of the Astros' three-run fifth that made it 8-0.
Bradley departed after he walked Meyers to load the bases with one out in the fourth. He allowed five runs on three hits and four walks with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings.
Abreu pushed the lead to 11-0 with a three-run blast off Calvin Faucher in the sixth.
The Astros then teed off against Pinto, with Altuve following Meyers' double with his seventh home run of the season. Bregman and Alvarez later went back-to-back, both notching their 18th home run. Pinto surrendered five runs on five hits in his lone inning.
Brown (7-7) faced the minimum through four innings and casually worked around an Isaac Paredes one-out walk in the fifth.
But Brown appeared to lose some steam in the sixth when Rays shortstop Wander Franco worked a nine-pitch walk with two outs. Brown escaped that inning unscathed but opened the seventh by hitting Randy Arozarena with a pitch before Paredes hit the first of his two home runs, a 380-foot shot to left that sliced the deficit to 11-2.
Winless over his previous six starts, Brown allowed two runs on four hits and two walks with four strikeouts over six-plus innings.
Franco smacked his 12th home run in the eighth inning and Paredes hit his 20th in the ninth.
Hunter Brown 95-58, Ryne Stanek 7-7, Parker Mushinski 13-6, Rafael Montero 28-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls -
Hunter Brown 6-3, Ryne Stanek 0-1, Parker Mushinski 2-0, Rafael Montero 0-0
Batters Faced -
Hunter Brown 24, Ryne Stanek 3, Parker Mushinski 4, Rafael Montero 6
Inherited Runners-Scored -
Ryne Stanek 1-0
Saturday, July 29, 2023 7:15 PM ET Location: Minute Maid Park Umpires:
Home - Tripp Gibson III, First - Derek Thomas, Second - Brennan Miller, Third - Mark Carlson Temperature: 73 °
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