The Houston Astros will aim to extend a pair of winning streaks on Saturday evening when they play the third contest of a four-game series against the host Cleveland Guardians.
The Astros have outscored the opposition 21-4 during their three-game winning streak. They padded that stretch with a 6-0 romp over the Guardians in the series opener Thursday and a 9-3 triumph the following night.
Those two victories extended Houston’s road record to an American League-best 36-21 this season and the team’s winning streak at Progressive Field to seven games.
The Astros’ Trey Mancini hit his first career grand slam to highlight a two-homer performance on Friday. He has three homers in four games since being acquired from the Baltimore Orioles in a three-team swap that included the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s been a pretty special first couple of games,” Mancini told AT&T Southwest. “Like I said the other day, I’m just so happy to be a part of this.”
“I’ve known Trey a couple years through (Orioles manager) Brandon Hyde,” said Astros bench coach Joe Espada, the team’s acting manager while Dusty Baker recovers from COVID. “He’s a tremendous human being, and he’s been through a lot. Watching him succeed the way he’s doing it, it brings an extra element of (it being) special to it.”
Houston’s Jose Altuve is a robust 11-for-18 with three runs in his past four games.
Astros right-hander Luis Garcia (8-7, 3.81 ERA) will look to snap a two-start skid on Saturday.
Garcia, 25, surrendered four runs on as many hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 5-3 setback at Oakland on July 26 before allowing three runs in seven innings of a hard-luck 3-2 loss to Boston on Monday.
He also fell to 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA in his career against Cleveland after yielding four runs (two earned) in five innings of a 6-1 setback on May 23.
The Guardians will counter on Saturday with right-hander Cal Quantrill (7-5, 4.08), who has escaped with a pair of no-decisions in his past two starts despite allowing 10 runs (nine earned) and four homers in 11 1/3 innings.
Quantrill, 27, lost his lone career decision to Houston on May 25. He permitted two runs on six hits and walked four in six innings of a 2-1 setback. Quantrill has a 3.95 lifetime ERA in four appearances (two starts) vs. the Astros.
Cleveland rookie Steven Kwan saw his 18-game hitting streak end on Friday. He exited the contest in the fourth inning for precautionary reasons after fouling a ball off his foot during an earlier at-bat.
“He actually hit that same spot in (batting practice), so when he hit it the second time it was barking a little bit,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “I thought the best chance to have him available for (Saturday is to exit the game), and he agreed. Because I asked him, I said, ‘Hey man, I know you’ve got a hitting streak.’ He kinda showed me something and said, ‘No, I’m all right.’ He’s a pretty savvy kid.”
Houston’s Kyle Tucker (illness) missed his second straight game on Friday, while Aledmys Diaz (finger) also was a bystander. Both players were available to pinch hit if the situation arose, Espada said.