Astros' Morton stays unbeaten with 8-2 win over Indians
By STEVE HERRICK, Associated Press
CLEVELAND (AP) — Charlie Morton remained unbeaten this season — and knew where to place the credit for his latest victory.
Morton (7-0) pitched six solid innings, Alex Bregman and Jake Marisnick hit three-run homers and the Houston Astros defeated the Cleveland Indians 8-2.
“I felt like I was along for the ride,” Morton said. “It was just one of those days for me. They picked me up all night.”
The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits while extending his career-best winning streak to 10 games. Morton, who moved into a tie for the AL lead in wins, hasn’t lost since Sept. 9, 2017 against Oakland. He walked three and struck out five.
Morton fell behind after Michael Brantley’s two-run single in the third, but his offense gave him plenty of support. Houston scored three runs in the fifth and added five in the sixth to put the game away.
“It was an absolute team win,” said Morton. “It’s pretty fun to be a part of this special team.”
The defending World Series champions have won four straight and taken three of four from Cleveland this season.
“These guys are really good,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Even last year, before they won the World Series, the way they played the game really stood out. They’re fun to play, not because you think you’re going to push them around, but because they play so well.”
Mike Clevinger (3-2) opened with four scoreless innings, but couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Bregman capped the inning with his fifth homer over the 19-foot high wall in left field that put Houston ahead. He added an RBI double in the sixth.
Marisnick, recalled from the minors Wednesday, homered to straightaway center in the sixth off Neil Ramirez. Marisnick was sent to Triple-A Fresno on May 15 and called up again when outfielder Josh Reddick went on the 10-day disabled list with a leg infection. Marisnick, batting .141 going into the game, also singled in the fifth but was picked off first by Clevinger.
Houston’s go-ahead rally came with two outs in the fifth. Clevinger hit Tony Kemp with an 0-2 pitch and George Springer drew a four-pitch walk. Pitching coach Carl Willis visited Clevinger, but Bregman then jumped on a hanging breaking pitch and Houston had the lead.
Clevinger allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander was pulled with two on in the sixth, but pinch-hitter Max Stassi’s single off Tyler Olson drove in a run before Marisnick homered.
Brantley singled up the middle in the third to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead. Roberto Perez led off with a single and took third on Francisco Lindor’s double.
Brantley is second in the AL in batting with a .335 average and extended his hitting streak to 13 games. He began the season on the disabled list following ankle surgery in October.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Springer predicted a home run when Marisnick came up in the sixth.
“There was a big roar in the dugout when Jake did that because George called it,” Hinch said. “Now, George makes a whole lot of other calls that don’t come close to happening, but that one he got right.”
Clevinger’s description of the home run pitch he threw to Bregman was short and to the point.
“Not going to look too deep into it besides I made a really bad pitch in a really bad spot,” he said.
A batboy tripped and fell as he neared home plate with extra baseballs for umpire Bill Welke in the second inning. Welke quickly gave the safe sign and the crowd laughed as the batboy went back to the dugout.
Astros: OF Derek Fisher (gastrointestinal discomfort), who has been on the 10-day disabled list since May 19, could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend.
Indians: Cleveland has four outfielders on the 10-day DL. Lonnie Chisenhall (strained right calf) will continue his minor league rehab assignment Friday. He’s played two games at Triple-A Columbus. … Bradley Zimmer (left rib contusion) is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. … Brandon Guyer (strained neck) could join a minor league team soon before being activated. … Tyler Naquin (strained left hamstring) has resumed baseball activities.
LHP Dallas Keuchel (3-6, 3.43 ERA) takes on RHP Corey Kluber (7-2, 2.36 ERA) in a rematch of their May 19 game in Houston. Kluber became the first AL pitcher to reach seven wins this season in Cleveland’s 5-4 victory while Keuchel got the loss, allowing four runs in five innings.
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