HOUSTON (AP) — With Houston’s powerful offense, there always seem to be men on base when Yuli Gurriel comes to the plate in the bottom part of the Astros order.
On Wednesday, he found a way to send most of them home.
Gurriel drove in a team record-tying eight runs, Gerrit Cole won his 10th straight decision and the Astros routed the Colorado Rockies 14-3 for their sixth victory in a row.
“It’s really incredible with this team, and I feel a big responsibility to drive runners in when they are on base,” Gurriel said in Spanish through a translator. “To be in that spot, I’m always focused and concentrating to get those runners in.”
A day after homering twice with three RBIs, Gurriel again teed off for the AL West leaders. He hit a three-run homer in the first inning, a sacrifice fly in the third, a three-run double in the fourth and an RBI grounder in the sixth to give him the most RBIs since he knocked in eight twice while playing in Cuba.
Gurriel tied Houston’s RBI record set by J.R. Towles in 2007 against St. Louis. Gurriel, who leads the Astros with 80 RBIs, surpassed the seven RBIs he had last season against the Angels and tied the major league record for most RBIs by a player born in Cuba. It’s his 11th game this season with at least three RBIs, and he joins Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell as the only Astros to have two games with at least seven runs knocked in.
“You get that feel every time he comes up that something positive is going to happen,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He’s locked in on pitch recognition and staying in on the at-bat. His production has been through the roof the last six weeks.”
Cole (14-5) struck out 10 in six innings. Undefeated in his last 14 starts, he allowed three hits and two runs to make Houston’s starters 16-1 in their last 19 starts.
This is the longest winning streak of Cole’s career and is the best active streak in the majors. Cole, who hasn’t lost since May 22, leads the majors with 226 strikeouts and his 2.87 ERA ranks third in the AL.
The Astros swept the four-game interleague season series from Colorado. Trevor Story hit his 26th homer and Nolan Arenado added his 25th for the Rockies, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.
The Astros jumped on Colorado starter Peter Lambert (2-3) for seven hits and a career-high nine runs in three-plus innings. Jose Altuve homered on Lambert’s first pitch of the game.
Colorado manager Bud Black believes the nine walks his three young pitchers combined for were the biggest factor in the lopsided loss.
“Three rookie pitchers probably trying to do a little bit too much or be a little too fine,” he said. “I think you saw a result of that in those nine walks. That’s tough to do against this lineup, and it’s tough to do in the big leagues. These guys are learning on the job, and they’ll soon learn that walks will always come back to haunt you.”
Story homered for the fourth time in five games, connecting in the first.
Altuve quickly tied it and Gurriel connected with two outs for his 23rd home run, including 18 since June 23. He has homered in five straight games against the Rockies dating to last year.
Cole had retired 10 straight, with seven strikeouts, when Arenado homered in the fourth. That hit gave Arenado 26 RBIs in interleague play this season, tied with Frank Thomas for most since interleague play began in 1997.
The Astros loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth on a single and two walks before Michael Brantley drove in a run with a single to chase Lambert. He was replaced by Jesus Tinoco, who walked Alex Bregman on four pitches to send another run home and make it 7-2.
He struck out Yordan Alvarez and Carlos Correa before Gurriel cleared the bases with double to left field to push the lead to 10-2.
Bregman had a two-run double in Houston’s three-run seventh to extend the lead to 14-2.
Astros: RHP Ryan Pressly (sore right knee) returned to Houston on Wednesday after pitching one inning in a rehabilitation game for Double-A Round Rock on Tuesday night. Hinch said he felt good after the outing and that he would be evaluated and likely come off the injured list in the next day or two. … RHP Brad Peacock (sore right shoulder) will make a rehabilitation appearance for Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday night.
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Story’s homer on Wednesday gave him 114 in what was his 500th career game. It’s the most home runs in a shortstop’s first 500 games in MLB history, surpassing Alex Rodriguez (103), Nomar Garciaparra (101), Ernie Banks (100) and Tony Batista (93).
Rockies: RHP Jon Gray (10-7, 4.03 ERA) will start for Colorado in the opener of a four-game series at San Diego on Thursday night. Gray gave up nine hits and four runs in four innings of a 6-5 loss to San Francisco in his last outing but did not factor in the decision.
Astros: Houston is off on Thursday before LHP Wade Miley (10-4, 3.05) starts in the first of three games at Baltimore on Friday night. Miley allowed three hits and two runs in six innings to win is fourth straight decision in Houston’s 10-2 victory over Seattle in his last outing.
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