HOUSTON (AP) — After their scorching series at Texas this week, it was hard to imagine what could slow down the Houston Astros.
The answer: Blake Snell.
Snell pitched six strong innings and Trent Grisham had a homer and four RBIs as the San Diego Padres cooled off the red-hot Astros with an 11-2 win Friday night.
“I looked at all the … 1.000 OPS's from all these guys from the last 10 games, so they have the ability to score a lot of runs,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But we had a pretty good pitcher on the mound.”
Snell (13-9) yielded five hits and two runs with eight strikeouts to get his third straight win. It was the first time in three starts that he’d allowed a run, but he still leads the majors with a 2.52 ERA.
He has allowed three earned runs or less in 20 straight starts, dating to May 25.
“The goal is not to give up runs,” Snell said. “But when we score 11, it’s OK to give up 2, especially to that lineup that’s really talented.”
The Astros couldn’t build on a three-game sweep at Texas earlier this week where they scored 39 runs with 16 homers to move into sole possession of first place in the AL West.
Houston had just six hits Friday after piling up 50 against the Rangers.
“I know how good they are and I know how I’ve done against them in the past and I knew what I needed to do today,” Snell said. “Definitely happy with how I pitched today.”
Houston's struggles at Minute Maid Park continued as the team fell to 35-35 at home after losing for the 10th time in their last 12 home games. But the Mariners also lost Friday to leave the Astros one-half game ahead of them for the top spot in the division.
Manager Dusty Baker was also impressed with Snell's performance.
“The guy is tough," Baker said. “He has a 96-97 mph fastball and then you get two strikes and he’s throwing hard enough where you had to commit on that breaking ball. He’s just good.”
The Padres jumped on rookie Hunter Brown (10-11) early, using a four-run second inning to take a 4-1 lead. Luis Campusano and Grisham hit RBI singles and Ha-Seong Kim drove in two with a single.
Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to seven games with a solo homer in the third to make it 5-1 and Grisham turned this one into a rout with three-run shot in the eighth that pushed the lead to 11-2.
Jeremy Peña doubled with one out in the first and scored on a single by Yordan Alvarez to make it 1-0.
The Padres tied it when Manny Machado scored on a single to center field by Campusano and took the lead when Grisham singled to left field to score Campusano.
Juan Soto hit an RBI double in the fifth that left the Padres up 6-1.
Houston cut the lead to 6-2 when Alvarez scored on a ground rule double by Jose Abreu with one out.
But Snell limited the damage by striking out Chas McCormick before Yainer Díaz lined out to end the inning.
Padres: C Gary Sánchez was placed on the 10-day injured list with a fractured right wrist. Melvin said he would miss the rest of the season but that he would not need surgery for the injury. … RHP Alex Jacob was transferred to the 60-day injured list. … San Diego purchased the contract of INF/OF Jurickson Profar from Triple-A El Paso and recalled INF Eguy Rosario from there to take their roster spots.
Kim had three stolen bases Friday to become the first Padre to have three steals in a game since Wil Myers on April 24, 2021. He ranks fifth in the National League with 34 this season.
Houston RHP Cristian Javier (9-3, 4.65 ERA) opposes RHP Seth Lugo (6-6, 3.49) when the series continues Saturday night.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb