Astros get 13 hits in 14-0 rout of Dodgers; McCullers hurt
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Astros are doing more than just getting by without injured Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa.
Josh Reddick’s three-run homer highlighted Houston’s seven-run eighth, and the Astros routed the Dodgers 14-0 to hand Los Angeles its biggest shutout loss at home in 95 years Saturday night.
“It feels really good when you’re without your two big horses in the middle of your lineup and you can still do stuff like that,” Reddick said. “You can still do something special.”
The AL West-leading Astros pounded out 13 hits in winning their fourth in a row and stretching their lead to five games over Oakland.
“Pretty explosive night for us,” manager A.J. Hinch said. “We’re a little banged up so it’s important for us to just keep putting up wins. To shut them out feels good.”
The only blight on the Astros’ night was starter Lance McCullers Jr. leaving after 60 pitches because of right elbow discomfort. He allowed two hits over four innings in his first start at Dodger Stadium since Game 7 of last year’s World Series, won by the Astros.
McCullers will return to Houston on Sunday morning to be examined.
“I felt some abnormal soreness and stiffness that I wouldn’t feel during the game,” he said. “I couldn’t have felt any better to start the game, which is the most frustrating part.”
The Dodgers were limited to three hits in losing their fifth straight regular-season game to Houston since 2015. It was their worst shutout loss at home since July 22, 1923, when the Brooklyn Robins lost to Boston at Ebbets Field, according to Stats LLC.
“The game’s over,” Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said. “I guess that’s the silver lining.”
The Astros batted around twice in the game, including the eighth when John Axford was charged with six runs in a rocky Dodgers debut after being acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline. Axford, a 10-year veteran, failed to record a strikeout on 27 pitches and hit left fielder Tony Kemp, forcing him to leave the game with a bruised right foot.
“It’s the worst outing of my entire career,” Axford said. “I wasn’t helping myself walking guys and hitting a guy. I have a little bit more to offer than what’s shown out there.”
Jake Marisnick ran for Kemp in the eighth and hit a two-run homer in the ninth. Houston fans began chanting loudly and the remaining Dodgers fans from the sellout crowd of 53,119 booed in an attempt to drown them out.
“We’re a team that’s capable of putting up those kind of numbers,” Reddick said. “These at-bats continue to be contagious for us and carry on from one guy to the next.”
Brad Peacock (2-4) got the win with two innings of relief.
Marwin Gonzalez homered on the first pitch from Kenta Maeda (7-7) leading off the second for the Astros’ first run.
“It’s huge to beat a team like that,” Gonzalez said.
Houston batted around in the sixth, extending its lead to 5-0.
Yuli Gurriel got things started with a two-run double that scored Reddick, who hit a ground-rule double to deep left center, and Alex Bregman, who walked.
After Maeda intentionally walked Gonzalez, Tyler White doubled to center field with the ball eluding a diving Chris Taylor. Gurriel scored and Gonzalez moved to third.
Martin Maldonado followed with a sacrifice to J.T. Chargois, who relieved Maeda, and Gonzalez scored for a 5-0 lead.
The Astros got to Axford right away in the eighth. Maldonado’s ground-rule double scored two runs, pinch-hitter Evan Gattis added a sacrifice fly and George Springer had an RBI double for his lone hit in six at-bats.
Reddick’s three-run drive to right field came off Zac Rosscup, just off the disabled list, and made it 12-0. Reddick played for the Dodgers for the last part of the 2016 season.
Maeda gave up five runs and six hits in 5 1/3 innings. The Japanese right-hander struck out four and walked two.
Houston won the series opener 2-1 on Friday and could complete a sweep on Sunday when newly acquired reliever Roberto Osuna is expected to be activated. He is coming off a 75-game suspension for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy.
Astros: Osuna pitched one scoreless inning for Double-A Corpus Christi on Friday, allowing one hit with one strikeout. ... Altuve (right knee soreness) did some running and baseball activity. “A step forward but not a ton,” Hinch said. “The key is the soreness after the activity.”
Dodgers: Placed LHP Alex Wood on 10-day DL with left adductor tendinitis. ... RHP Ross Stripling (right big toe inflammation) tossed 30 pitches in a two-inning simulated game. He’s expected to rejoin the team either Thursday or Friday in Colorado.
Gurriel has been especially good in interleague games this season, going 13 for 38 with two doubles and six RBIs.
ON THE ROAD
The Astros improved their MLB-best road record to 39-17, having won nine of their last 11 away from home. They equaled their largest margin of victory this season.
RHP Gerrit Cole (10-3, 2.55 ERA), a former UCLA star, starts the series finale for the Astros. Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler (4-4, 3.65 ERA) has never faced Houston.
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