Morton, Gonzalez help Astros rout Rangers
HOUSTON -- Charlie Morton produced his second consecutive quality start while Marwin Gonzalez continued his early season power surge, and the Houston Astros bashed the Texas Rangers 10-1 on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Gonzalez doubled as part of a four-run second inning and belted a two-run homer in the Astros' four-run sixth, his eighth home run of the season. Houston complemented his power with some aggressive baserunning later in the frame, with Nori Aoki and George Springer scoring on close plays at the plate.
Morton (2-3) followed a strong outing against the Oakland Athletics earlier this homestand with six solid innings. The Astros (19-9) backed him with four home runs -- solo shots from Carlos Correa and Brian McCann, and two-run blasts from Gonzalez and Josh Reddick. Reddick clubbed his second home run of the season in the eighth.
Houston smacked three homers off Rangers right-hander Nick Martinez (0-1). Gonzalez went 2-for-4 and has three homers in two games against Texas (11-17).
Martinez pitched effectively over two starts for the Rangers, but after setting the side down in order in the first inning endured a nightmarish second.
Correa opened the scoring with an opposite-field home run to left, his third on the season. Following a Carlos Beltran fly out to left, six consecutive Astros reached base, starting with McCann and his line-drive homer to right field.
Gonzalez doubled to left field and Alex Bregman followed with an RBI single that scored Gonzalez. Springer tacked on a run-scoring single one batter after Aoki walked and pushed Bregman into scoring position. The Astros led 4-0.
That cushion proved sufficient for Morton, who allowed only one baserunner his first trip through the order and didn't surrender a hit until Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor opened the fourth with a double to right field.
It wasn't until Ryan Rua laced a single to center that the Rangers broke through, with Nomar Mazara coming around to score to cut the deficit to three runs.
Morton labored a bit to complete his six innings, but did so with a 4-1 lead having allowed one run on five hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
NOTES: Rangers LHP Cole Hamels was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. He is expected to be sidelined approximately eight weeks. Hamels sustained the injury Tuesday during pregame warmups before being scratched from his start. Texas recalled RHP Anthony Bass from Triple-A Round Rock. ... Astros LHP Dallas Keuchel on Wednesday was named American League Pitcher of the Month for April. Keuchel (5-0, 1.21 ERA) paced the AL in victories and innings (44 2/3) while ranking third in ERA and opponent batting average (.164). Keuchel joins RHP Bartolo Colon, RHP Felix Hernandez and RHP Justin Verlander as the only active pitchers with four AL Pitcher of the Month honors. ... Astros RHP Collin McHugh will travel with the club for its weekend series against the Angels with the possibility that he'll start playing catch soon. McHugh was shut down in early April with a posterior impingement in his right elbow after opening the season on the 10-day disabled list with shoulder tendinitis.