June 21, 2018 / 3:08 AM / 25 days ago

Red-hot Astros ride three straight HRs past Rays, 5-1

EditorsNote: rewords last graf

George Springer, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve clubbed back-to-back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning, and the Houston Astros claimed their fourth consecutive series victory with a 5-1 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros used the power surge to become the first team in the majors to reach 50 wins. Springer snapped a 1-all tie with his leadoff homer against Rays right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1-3), drilling an 0-2 fastball 437 feet to left field for his 15th home run on the season.

Two pitches later, Bregman cranked his 11th homer, also to left. Altuve, who belted a homer off Eovaldi with one out in the fourth to pull the Astros even, followed with a titanic 443-foot shot, his seventh, that extended the Astros lead to 4-1.

It marked the first time since May 2, 2008, that the Astros recorded home runs over three consecutive at-bats. Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee accomplished the feat against Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Carlos Villanueva in a 7-4 victory at Minute Maid Park.

Eovaldi had been steady prior to the eruption, limiting the Astros to four hits through five innings. He worked around a two-out double by Altuve in the first inning and a leadoff single from Astros catcher Brian McCann in the third, inducing a double play off the bat of Tony Kemp to erase McCann and preserve the scoreless tie. An inning later, the score was knotted again.

Eovaldi allowed four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts over six innings.

The Rays struck first against Astros right-hander Charlie Morton (9-1), who struggled with his control for a third consecutive start. Morton issued four walks over six innings, all with two outs. Oddly, none of those free passes proved costly, with the Rays instead capitalizing on a fourth-inning throwing error by Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel to cash in their lone run.

With Mallex Smith, who singled with one out, running on a Carlos Gomez grounder to third, Gurriel attempted to erase Smith at third after retiring Gomez for the second out of the frame. His errant throw eluded Carlos Correa, allowing Smith to score and the Rays to take a 1-0 lead.

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