Photo courtesy of Twitter (@Astros).
By Terrance Turner
April 24, 2021
The Houston Astros dazzled fans at Minute Maid Park today, racking up a slew of base hits and high-flying home runs. The Astros’ explosive offense paired with a stout defense to demolish the Los Angeles Angels. According to Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart, the Astros set season records for hits (18), extra-base hits (11), and runs scored. They went on to win, 16-2.
The scoring got off to a hot start in the first inning, when the Astros added three runs. Carlos Correa homered to left field to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, left fielder Michael Brantley scored on a single by Yordan Alvarez, and third baseman Alex Bregman advanced to third base. Then Bregman scored when Yuli Gurriel ground out to shallow infield. Yordan Alvarez out at second. The Astros led 3-0.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols homered before the end of the first inning. Then, in the second, pitcher Shohei Ohtani hit a home run as well. But that would be the last run scored by Los Angeles. When the Astros took over, their bats were lit up. Correa hit a single, then advanced to third base after Michael Brantley doubled to right field. And then, Alex Bregman hit a home run that sent the ball soaring towards the back of the wall at Minute Maid Park. Bregman, Brantley, and Correa all scored. The Astros led 6-2.
In the fourth inning, Myles Straw scored on a center-field single by Jason Castro. Then Alex Bregman reached on a fielder’s choice to shallow infield, advancing to 2nd base. Michael Brantley made it to third. Jason Castro scored after a fielding error by Kurt Suzuki. Then both Bregman and Brantley scored (again) after a center-field single by Gurriel.
In the fifth inning, with the score 10-2, Alvarez nailed his first career triple home run. His three-run homer brought Bregman, Brantley and Castro home to score. That gave the Astros a massive 13-2 lead.
Somehow, in just five innings, the Houston Astros had racked up 13 runs. But they weren’t done yet. In the eighth, Gurriel hit a double. Then, during a commercial break by AT&T Sports, Kyle Tucker hit a 61 mph fastball to send it into the stands. That two-run homer gave the Astros 15. Straw hit a fair ball down left field for a double. Then Castro earned yet another RBI with a double that sent Straw back home. The Astros won, 16-2.
Bregman and Brantley had 4 runs apiece; Alvarez had 4 RBI. Tucker hit a two-run homer. Despite all the offensive firepower, it was pitcher Kent Emanuel who was named Player of the Game. In his MLB debut, Astros pitcher Kent Emanuel took over for the injured Jake Odorizzi, pitching for over eight innings and 26 outs. It was the longest relief appearance by an Astros pitcher since 1962, according to McTaggart. Per ESPN and the Assoiated Press, the last relief pitcher to pitch 8 and 2/3 innings in his debut was in 1974. His solid pitching helped the Astros seal an unforgettable win.