SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Houston Astros aren’t putting up big numbers with their injury-depleted lineup. But the World Series champions are making up for that with a couple of timely home runs.
Tyler White hit a two-run drive in the eighth inning and the Astros pulled off a late rally for the second straight game, beating the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Tuesday.
The win followed the Astros’ 3-1 victory Monday night in which Marwin Gonzalez hit a three-run homer with two outs in the ninth.
This time, the AL West leaders again trailed 1-0 when Gonzalez doubled and White hit a high, arching shot to left field off Ray Black (1-1).
“It’s not easy to win games in the eighth and ninth,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “We kind of make a habit of it every now and then, but different guy every day.”
Houston has hit 13 home runs in its last eight games. The Astros have won six of seven and the Giants have lost four of five.
“I was trying to put a good swing and then I saw it went up in the air to left field,” White said. “It was a good moment.”
And it followed an anxious moment.
On an 0-2 pitch, White was brushed back by a high 96 mph fastball from Black, who topped 100 earlier in the at-bat.
“That’s always scary,” White said. “He let one get away a little bit, you just have to calm yourself down because it’s little bit scary. You just have to look for a good pitch to hit on the next pitch, and that’s what I was doing.”
Joe Smith (4-1) struck out the only two batters he faced in the seventh for the win. Hector Rondon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 13th save in 16 tries.
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel gave up one run and three hits in six innings, striking out five and walking two.
Giants starter Madison Bumgarner pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing five hits and three walks while striking out seven. He is 4-1 with a 2.08 ERA in six career starts against Houston.
“It’s hard to take when you get that kind of pitching,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
“Give them credit; they beat two of our hottest relievers. Lightning hit us twice. Black has been lights out. That was the first hit he allowed since his debut. He had a 1-2 count and made a mistake. He missed his spot. It looked like it was right down the middle.”
Giants INF Chase d’Arnaud left the game with a bruised left knee after fouling a ball of himself in the fourth. He hit an RBI single in the second.
“He’s day-to-day,” Bochy said. “I’m guessing he’ll be fine with the day off (Wednesday).”
Giants: 1B Brandon Belt, on the DL with a hyperextended right knee since July 26, is ramping up baseball activities and could be activated for next week’s series opener against the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Monday, Bochy said.
Astros: After a day off, the Astros and RHP Justin Verlander (11-6, 2.19 ERA) will open a series at home against Seattle. He has won just two of his last eight starts, posting a 3.54 ERA over that stretch.
Giants: LHP Andrew Suarez (4-7, 4.60) with make his 20th career start Thursday in a series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates at home.