No. 9 hit­ter Maris­nick homers twice in rout

Austin American-Statesman - - BASEBALL -

Hous­ton’s lineup is so pow­er­ful that even the Astros’ No. 9 hit­ter Jake Maris­nick has been dan­ger­ous at the plate this sea­son.

He proved that once again on Mon­day night, fin­ish­ing with three hits, in­clud­ing two homers, and a ca­reer-high five RBIs as the Astros coasted to a 14-7win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

“It’s nice to have thatkind of pro­duc­tion at the bot­tom,” man­ager A.J. Hinch said. “It re­ally makes things in­ter­est­ing when we roll to the top again no mat­ter who we put at the top. They’ve ben­e­fited from some guys at the bot­tom do­ing their part.”

The Rays cut the lead to one after a two-run homer by Corey Dick­er­son in the third in­ning be­fore an RBI sin­gle by Tyler White made it 4-2 in the bot­tom of the in­ning.

Maris­nick’s three-run homer — his first — came next to push the lead to 7-2.

Two pitches later Derek Fisher, who fin­ished a triple shy of the cy­cle, home­red off Alex Cobb (9-7) to make it 8-2.

The Astros were up 10-2 in the fifth in­ning when Maris­nick hit a solo homer for his sec­ond ca­reer mul­ti­homer game.

“You go 1-9 with us and we can do it and we’ve got guys on the benchthat can do it, too,” Maris­nick said. “It’s just a com­plete team, a com­plete lineup.”

Hous­ton starter Char­lie Mor­ton (9-4) al­lowed a sea­son-low two hits with two runs in six in­nings for his fourth win in five starts.

Cobb al­lowed nine hits and eight runs in a sea­son-low three in­nings for his first loss since July 2. He had al­lowed just five runs com­bined and go­ing 3-0 in his past four starts.

“Alex just didn’t have it,” Tampa Bay man­ager Kevin Cash said. “He couldn’t quite com­mand the base­ball, miss­ing over the plate too much. They came out, and they didn’t miss any­thing ei­ther.”

Jose Al­tuve added two hits, in­clud­ing a two-run sin­gle that pushed Hous­ton’s lead to 3-0 in the sec­ond, be­fore being lifted in the sev­enth.

Dick­er­son added a solo home run in the eighth in­ning to give him his sev­enth mul­ti­homer game and third this sea­son.

Hous­ton added three runs in the eighth in­ning when the Rays put backup catcher Je­sus Su­cre in to pitch with their bullpen taxed.

Al­tuve’s month: Al­tuve wrapped up July with the best bat­ting av­er­age in a month in fran­chise history. The All-Star sec­ond base­man hit .485 with 10 dou­bles, a triple, four homers and 21 RBIs. He sur­passed the .476 that Richard Hi­dalgo posted in Sep­tem­ber 2000. Al­tuve’s 48 hits in July were the most in a month by an Astro since Lance Berk­man had 49 in May 2008. Al­tuve said he doesn’t re­ally keep up with what he’s do­ing, but he was so hot in July it was hard not to no­tice. “I hit a lot, ob­vi­ously peo­ple told me that,” he said. “But the only thing I’m look­ing for is to help my team.”

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