Jose Abreu hits a grand slam in the Astros’ sweep of the Rangers

The depth of the Astros’ lineup, especially with Yordan Alvarez, Jose Abreu and Michael Brantley, goes far beyond second basemen, and has taken the struggling Rangers to the test. And one night when Altuve was unscathed, the Astros were batting baseball all over Globe Life Field.

The Astros put an exclamation point on a dominant sweep of the Rangers in the Lone Star Series Finals by riding seven powerful innings off Justin Verlander and crushing five teammates, including a grand slam and a three-run homer by Abreu, for 12 minutes. 3 Defeat the Rangers.

“If there’s one person who admires what this team can do, it’s me because I’m new here,” Abreu said. “I think this organization, and these guys, when the lights are on, they know how to handle things, they know how to do things well. I’m so grateful to be a part of this as well.

The Astros outscored the Rangers, 39-10, and outscored them, 50-22, while breaking a club record 16 home runs in a three-game series to bring their road winning streak to eight. They have hit at least five homers in three straight games, which equals a major league record.

“Obviously, this has not been a good series,” said Rangers manager Bruce Bochy. “There wasn’t a lot we did well, to be honest. They played really well. They got hot on us, they didn’t miss a miss. The long ball killed us in this series. We just didn’t run out of pitches. We let a lot go throughout the series, and we paid for it.” They hit the ball well, swung the bat and sent it to us, there is no escaping it.

A long-awaited pitcher duel between Verlander and Max Scherzer — both of whom were traded from the Mets in July and in the midst of the AL West run — never materialised. Scherzer lasted just three innings, as Verlander hit a first-hit homer off Marcus Simien—the only earned run he allowed—for his 255th win.

“Look, as a starter, your job is to keep the momentum going,” said Verlander. “Our offense has made it easy for us in this series. Obviously, when you’re a big bet, you want to eat innings and keep the team off the board as much as possible, and I’ve been able to do that.

Alvarez hit a two-run homer off Scherzer in the first inning, Brantley hit a solo homer in the second and Abreu broke the opener with a hit in the third to put Houston ahead 7–1. Abreu added a three-run homer in the ninth inning and followed it up with Chas McCormick, who came off the bench and smashed his 20th homer of the season.

“The guys were ready,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker. “We jumped them up early and into their tired playing field. Boy, what a day it was for the Abreu – seven ribbies and two homers. I’ve seen Scherzer much better. He let some pitches in the penalty area, some chipped balls, and our guys didn’t miss them. He was Verlander very well.

“We’re happy with the invasion here, and now we’re going to take the day off and play against a strong San Diego team like we’ve never seen before.”

From a distance, Abreu marveled at what the Astros have been able to do over the past seven years, which is one of the reasons he signed with Houston in the offseason. The season hasn’t gone as smoothly for him as he had hoped, but on Wednesday he showed he can still contribute with his racket.

Since leaving the IL (low back) on August 23, he has batted . 256/. 333/. 581 with four homers and 18 RBIs in 11 games.

“I’ve had some tough moments, but the biggest thing for me is that this whole organization has been behind me, and a lot of the players here have backed me – even (during) the good and bad moments,” Abreu. He said. “You have to try to find the positive things and embrace them.”

The goal now for the Astros is to continue playing at home, where they have struggled to score goals this year.

“It’s not exactly playoff baseball, but it’s time to bring that energy and focus and see what these guys can do when they do,” Verlander said.

(tags for translation) MLB

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