Tony Kemp drove in five runs from the ninth spot in the batting order, and the Houston Astros bashed the San Francisco Giants 11-2 on Tuesday in the opener of a two-game interleague series at Minute Maid Park.
Kemp, who finished 2-for-2 with two sacrifices, wasn’t alone in producing from the bottom of the order. Designated hitter Evan Gattis went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored while batting seventh, and catcher Max Stassi rapped two hits, a walk, and an RBI sandwiched between Gattis and Kemp.
Collectively, the bottom third produced six hits and six RBIs while scoring four runs. Kemp became the fourth player in franchise history with five RBIs while batting ninth.
Gattis and Stassi recorded consecutive doubles for the Astros to open the third against Giants rookie left-hander Andrew Suarez (1-4). Stassi scored on a George Springer single following a sac bunt from Kemp.
Alex Bregman then capped that three-run frame with another double, this one plating Springer.
Kemp stroked a two-run single in the fourth, plating Yuli Gurriel, who had singled, and J.D. Davis, who had walked, to open the frame. Davis finished with three walks and three runs scored.
Suarez departed after issuing a leadoff walk to Bregman in the fifth, having allowing five runs on seven hits and two walks with two strikeouts.
Houston tacked on four runs in the sixth inning, with Gattis and Stassi again scoring in succession after Kemp plated Davis with a sacrifice fly to left.
Kemp drove home Gurriel and Davis with a single in the seventh inning.
Astros right-hander Gerrit Cole (5-1) was the beneficiary of the run support. He wavered with his control, issuing three walks over six innings. However, he struck out to top 100 on the season in 67 innings.
Of the four hits Cole allowed, two were recorded by his brother-in-law, Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford, whose two-run homer in the fifth accounted for the offense.
Three relievers worked the final four innings for the Giants, who had won eight of the last 10 meetings with the Astros.
—Field Level Media