Asked when he had last seen a team hit like the Astros had during their two-day stay at SunTrust Park, Braves All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte said after Wednesday night’s 10-4 loss to the American League juggernaut, “I’ve never seen a team like that.”
The Astros (58-27) banged out 16 hits and became the second team on record to tally seven doubles in three consecutive games. The only other team to achieve that feat since at least 1913 was the 1999 Indians. Houston improved to 31-9 on the road and has outscored the opposition 277-170 away from home.
“I thought we swung the bats extraordinarily well,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We also pitched well. They had the one big inning today, but we played as complete a baseball as we could do. There’s always ways to get better, but when we get going on all cylinders it’s always fun to watch.”
Jaime Garcia delivered a two-out, two-run single in Atlanta’s game-tying four-run fifth inning, but the Braves left-hander surrendered 10 hits, including Norichika Aoki’s leadoff double in Houston’s decisive three-run seventh. George Springer capped a three-hit night by greeting Jason Motte with a go-ahead single. Jose Altuve followed by securing his own three-hit performance with an RBI double.
“They just keep coming at you,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “They don’t let you get away with anything. The two-out RBIs. The two-strike, two-out RBIs. They’re a really good ballclub.”
Freddie Freeman’s first-inning single accounted for the only hit Astros starter Joe Musgrove surrendered before allowing four straight two-out hits in the fifth inning. Garcia might have restored some of his trade value as he pitched more effectively than he had in his past three starts. But his effort was not enough to tame a potent Astros offense that has tallied a double-digit run total three times as the team has won six of its past seven games.
“That’s a tough game,” Garcia said. “It’s just a lineup that is pretty hot right now. You can’t make one mistake. I let my teammates down. I didn’t get the job done again.”
Jake Marisnick, Josh Reddick (two), Alex Bregman, Aoki, Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez all recorded doubles for Houston. The Astros have 49 hits and 34 runs in their past three games.
“With Inciarte’s homer, the game was tied,” Altuve said. “We came back with some runners on base and George and Reddick were able to swing the bat really good tonight and drive in some runs.”
Garcia was cruising after allowing a run in the first until Marisnick doubled with one out in the fifth. Springer and Altuve delivered consecutive two-out singles to keep the inning alive for Reddick, who capped the key frame by lacing an elevated 2-2 slider off the right-field wall for a two-run double. Reddick has hit .375 with two outs and runners in scoring position.
Musgrove had retired 12 straight when he opened the bottom of the fifth with consecutive strikeouts of Nick Markakis and Matt Adams. But the righty then surrendered four straight hits, including Garcia’s two-run single, which deflected off third baseman Bregman before finding its way into the left-field grass. Inciarte followed with a game-tying two-run shot that snuck over the right-field wall and gave him a career-high seven homers.
Mike Foltynewicz (6-5, 3.83 ERA) will take the mound when Atlanta opens a four-game set at Nationals Park on Thursday at 6:05 p.m. CT. Foltynewicz carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning of his last start against Oakland but lost it on a home run to open the frame.