Houston's bats are hot

Houston keeps mashing, secures another series win against Boston

Houston kept barreling up balls in Wednesday's game in Boston. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive statement in the opener of this three-game set, Houston entered Wednesday's middle game with a chance to lock up their third-straight series and eighth win in their last ten games. They would get it, as their lineup powered the way to the victory.

Final Score: Astros 8, Red Sox 3

Astros' Record: 35-26, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (1-3)

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi (7-3)

Odorizzi overcomes tough first inning

Jake Odorizzi looked like he may be en route to an early exit in Wednesday's middle game, thanks to a rough first inning. He started his night with a walk, followed by a double to put runners on second and third. Both would score, one on a sac fly and the other on an RBI single, giving Boston a 2-0 lead.

He settled in, though, after that, with a 1-2-3 second and third, getting back on track. He allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fourth but retired the next six batters in a row to complete five innings. His final line: 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 77 P.

Houston's bats keep connecting

He left in line for the win, thanks to another strong performance from Houston's offense. Down 2-0 after the first inning, they went to work in the top of the second, getting back-to-back two-out doubles to cut the lead in half. They followed that with a four-run third, starting with a leadoff solo homer by Jose Altuve, then RBI hits by Yordan Alvarez, Yuli Gurriel, and Michael Brantley, giving the Astros a 5-2 lead at the time.

Now a two-run game in the bottom of the sixth at 5-3, and with Odorizzi's day done, Cristian Javier would come in to try and get through as much as he could. After he sat down Boston 1-2-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Houston added a run in the top of the seventh on a sac fly by Myles Straw, pushing it back to a three-run game. Javier followed that with a five-pitch bottom of the inning. Houston added more insurance in the top of the eighth, with Carlos Correa reaching base to set up a two-run bomb by Alex Bregman, making it 8-3.

Javier goes the rest of the way as Astros secure the series

Javier kept going in the bottom of the eighth and recorded another scoreless frame by erasing a one-out single, then tried to finish things off in the ninth. He'd make quick work of Boston once again, finishing the "piggy-back" for Odorizzi in the two-pitcher game that kept the Astros in step with the Oakland A's in the battle for best in the AL West.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game set and the last of the seven-game season series between Houston and Boston will be another 6:10 PM Central start on Thursday. The Astros will go up against Eduardo Rodriguez (5-4, 5.59 ERA) for Boston, who allowed six runs to Houston when they squared off on May 31st. Zack Greinke (6-2, 3.38 ERA) will be on the mound for the Astros.

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The Houston Astros haven't counted on their catchers to deliver much offensive production in recent years, with defensive specialist Martin Maldonado being their primary catcher for the last few seasons. But top hitting prospect Yainer Diaz is making a case to get more playing time behind the plate and at first, based on his ability to swing the bat.

Until recently, he hasn't been able to get any meaningful playing time. Even David Hensley, who was optioned to Sugar Land a few weeks ago, has more plate appearances than Diaz this season.

So how does manager Dusty Baker find more opportunities for Diaz? Should he use him more often as a DH, along with getting time at first base and catcher?

And what does that mean for Jose Abreu, Martin Maldonado, and to a lesser extent, former first round pick and Sugar Land Space Cowboy catcher, Korey Lee?

Plus, considering how good the Astros outfielders have been this year, does the team need to grab another bat before the trade deadline?

Don't miss the video above as we break it all down!

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