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|Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch might want to consider giving Jose Altuve more days off. A night after he was out of the starting lineup for the first time all season Danny Etling Jersey , the 2017 American League MVP homered twice, including the last of three straight by the Astros in the sixth inning, to lift Houston to a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
Altuve, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning on Tuesday night, said getting a little break gave him a chance to regroup.
”It felt good. It’s always good to sit down and think about how you feel,” he said. ”And I came back strong today.”
The game was tied in the bottom of the sixth when George Springer’s 15th homer this season made it 2-1. Two pitches later Alex Bregman sent an 87 mph slider from Rays’ starter Nathan Eovaldi (1-3) into the seats in left field for his 11th home run.
But the Astros weren’t done yet, as Altuve put one on the train tracks atop left field for the second time on Wednesday night to push the lead to 4-1. It was the first time the Astros had hit three home runs in a row since May 2, 2008 when Miguel Tejada, Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee did it against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Altuve got a little amped up after seeing the balls by Springer and Bregman leave the yard, and once he got in a hitter’s count he was looking for a ball to drive.
”There was a lot going on in that inning and I got a little excited,” he said.
It was a welcome display of power for a team which managed just five singles in a 2-1 loss to the Rays on Tuesday night that snapped Houston’s 12-game winning streak. Wednesday night’s win made the Astros the first team to reach 50 victories this season.
”It was a pretty electrifying crowd after three home runs one after another after another,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”Obviously, it was a huge inning for us. What energy that got put back into the building and also our team. Pretty impressive.”
Houston starter Charlie Morton (9-1) allowed just two hits and one unearned run in six innings for the win.
Eovaldi, who grew up in suburban Houston Bobby Hebert Jersey , entered the game 1-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against the Astros. But he allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings for his third straight loss.
”It’s just a matter of time before that offense gets you,” manager Kevin Cash said. ”He was efficient, they made some adjustments, but it was a lot of power and by that third time through, it kind of caught up. It’s just a very talented offense.”
Jake Bauers doubled with two outs in the first inning before Morton walked Wilson Ramos and plunked Joey Wendle to load the bases. But he escaped the jam when left fielder Tony Kemp made a diving catch on a ball hit by Willy Adames to end the inning.
”That’s probably the highlight of the game defensively for us just because a lot of things can happen there,” Hinch said. ”We’re playing a little bit deep, it looked like he got a little bit of a late start and then comes in with an acrobatic catch.”
Mallex Smith singled with one out in the fourth and scored when Carlos Gomez grounded out and first baseman Yuli Gurriel badly overthrew first base for an error to make it 1-0.
Altuve tied it up with his first home run of the night with one out in the fourth. It was the first multi-homer game in the regular season since July 24, 2016 for Altuve, who hit a career-best three in Game 1 of the ALDS against Boston last season.
The Astros added a run on an RBI single by Kemp with one out in the seventh.
Astros: Hinch said RHP Joe Smith (right elbow inflammation) was feeling a lot better on Wednesday and is likely to throw off the mound either this weekend or early next week.
Rays: Manager Kevin Cash said INF Daniel Robertson (left hamstring strain) is doing well and should come off the disabled list on Friday.
Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after going 0 for 5 on Wednesday night in his first game back after missing more than two months following thumb surgery. His slump is a continuation of the struggles he had before the injury and he’s hitting just .135 in 14 games this season.
”Unfortunately, K.K. just got off to a rough start and takes a month or two months off,” Cash said. ”The numbers are going to be ugly for a little while, but I’m very confident he’ll get going.”
Rays: Tampa Bay is off on Thursday before beginning a three-game series with the New York Yankees on Friday. They have yet to announce their pitching rotation for that series.
Astros: Houston also has a day off on Thursday before hosting Kansas City in the opener of a three-game series on Friday. Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.15 ERA), who got his first win since May 13 in his last start Alex Lewis Jersey , will oppose Royals‘ lefty Danny Duffy.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers will once again have to figure out the best way to replace the injured Greg Olsen.
The three-time Pro Bowl tight end injured his right foot in the first half of Carolina’s 16-8 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday and spent the second half looking on from the sideline on crutches with his foot in a boot. It’s the same foot Olsen fractured in Week 2 last year. That injury kept him out of nine games and ended his streak of three straight 1,000-yard seasons.
Olsen was not available for comment after the game and coach Ron Rivera said he didn’t know the extent of the injury.
Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said the team should know more on Monday, but Olsen’s teammates made it sound like the 33-year-old won’t be returning anytime soon.
Panthers center Ryan Kalil said Olsen was “pretty upset” after the game.
“I feel bad for him,” Kalil said. “He works incredibly hard, he cares a vast amount. He does a nice job, and he was out doing his job for his team, and it breaks my heart for him. Hopefully he gets some good news.”
The Panthers will likely turn to rookie Ian Thomas as their starting tight end, although Cam Newton suggested the front office might need to make a roster move to add a tight end.
“You guys know how I feel about Greg, you can’t ever replace him, his professionalism that he brings to the game, his overall outlook, his IQ, his understanding Nick Nelson Jersey ,” Newton said.
If history is any indication, running back Christian McCaffrey will see more balls thrown his way with Olsen out. McCaffrey was used as Newton’s safety valve last season and finished with a franchise rookie record 80 receptions.
The Panthers also lost right tackle Daryl Williams to a knee injury, although the severity is not known.
Things we learned from Carolina’s win over Dallas:
KICKING TALK: Cowboys fans still angry about the team’s decision to release Dan Bailey, the NFL’s second-most accurate field goal kicker in history, will have more ammunition this week.
Replacement Brett Maher missed his only field goal attempt from 47 yards wide to the right. It came late in the third period with Dallas trailing 10-0.
Intermittent rain made for a sloppy field at Bank of America Stadium on a windy afternoon, conditions Maher brushed off.
“I know what my job is,” Maher said. “My role on this team is to go out there and when I get a chance, put points on the board. I didn’t do that today.”
REPLACING GREGORY: Randy Gregory’s return to football didn’t last long.
The Cowboys defensive end, who missed the 2017 season because of multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy, left the game in the first half with a concussion. The league could reportedly rule on another possible substance-abuse related suspension as early as this week.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he had no comment on those reports.
CHASING HIM DOWN: The fact that the Panthers sacked Dak Prescott six times bodes well for the Carolina defense, given he’s an elusive quarterback.
“We know he’s a scrambling quarterback and we know he likes to get out of the pocket,” Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson said. “There were some times he got out and escaped but overall, the D-line did a phenomenal job keeping him in the pocket.”
Prescott finished 19 of 29 for 170 yards, but just a 8.9-yard average and two completions of more than 15 yards.
McCAFFREY’S TOUCHES: Panthers coach Ron Rivera said in ideal world McCaffrey would touch the ball “25-30 times per game” this season. But the versatile second-year back only got his hands on the football 16 times for 95 yards on Sunday.
McCaffrey rushed 10 times for 50 yards Richard Sherman Jersey , with a long of 15, and caught six passes for 45 yards. Newton targeted him a total of nine times in the passing game.
McCaffrey’s first carry, from the Dallas 5 in the first quarter and with the game still scoreless, resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence.
“It can’t happen, but it’s football,” McCaffrey said.
FULLBACK WEAPON: The Panthers might have a new goal line weapon in fullback Alex Armah, who scored on a 1-yard plunge on his first NFL carry.
Armah’s number was called after C.J. Anderson’s 9-yard run to within two feet of the goal line. The second-year pro out of Division II West Georgia said he wasn’t surprised to get the carry in his 10th career game.
“I was just ready,” said Armah, who primarily played special teams a year ago. “I wasn’t too nervous because we practice it during the week. We go over it, so I really just tried to get into the end zone.”
Once he did, Armah chose not to give the ball away despite Newton’s pleading with him. He wanted to keep it to mark the milestone.
“I don’t b him,” Rivera said.
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