ASTROS RALLY TO DEFEAT CARDINALS

Bregman and Diaz homer in the 8th to lift the Astros to a win over the Cardinals

Bregman and Diaz homer in the 8th to lift the Astros to a win over the Cardinals
Astros defeat the Cardinals, 7-4. Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images.

Alex Bregman and Yainer Diaz homered in the eighth inning, helping the Houston Astros top the St. Louis Cardinals 7-4 on Monday night.

Bregman tied it at 4 when he hit a leadoff drive to left off JoJo Romero (2-1). It was Bregman's fifth homer in his last seven games and No. 9 on the season.

With two outs and Jake Meyers aboard, Diaz homered off the wall in left for his fourth on the year. Chas McCormick then reached on an error on shortstop Masyn Winn and swiped second ahead of Jose Altuve's RBI double.

Rafael Montero (1-1) got three outs for the win, and Josh Hader worked the ninth for his ninth save.

Yordan Alvarez hit a two-run homer, helping the Astros to the win after Kyle Tucker departed in the third inning after fouling a ball off his right shin.

Nolan Gorman homered twice and Alec Burleson also went deep for the Cardinals, who lost for the third time in four games.

There was one out in the first when Burleson sent a slider from Justin Verlander into the seats in right field. Gorman connected with two down.

An RBI single by Nolan Arenado made it 3-0 in the third.

Tucker got hurt in the bottom of the inning and was replaced by pinch-hitter Mauricio Dubón, who drew a walk. Alvarez followed with his 12th homer on a drive to right.

Gorman hit his 13th homer of the season with one out in the fifth to make it 4-2.

Alvarez hit a one-out double in the sixth before the Astros cut the lead to 4-3 on an RBI single by Meyers with two outs.

Verlander allowed seven hits and four runs in five innings.

Kyle Gibson struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings for St. Louis. He was charged with three runs and five hits.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: Manager Oliver Marmol said RHP Keynan Middleton was visiting a specialist Monday in New York after experiencing pain and stiffness in his right forearm. Middleton made five appearances for Double-A Springfield before experiencing the setback.

Astros: General manager Dana Brown said Monday that RHP José Urquidy is getting a second opinion on his injury amid reports that a second Tommy John surgery is possible. ESPN was first to report the right-hander will visit Dr. Keith Meister in Arlington, Texas, on Monday. ESPN reported Meister is expected to recommend Tommy John surgery. “That’s not the information we have right now,” Brown said. “And so that’s why we’re getting a second opinion. So, we’ll know more in a couple of days.”

UP NEXT

Houston RHP Spencer Arrighetti (3-5, 5.98 ERA) opposes RHP Andre Pallante (1-1, 3.94 ERA) when the series continues Tuesday night.

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The NBA Draft takes place this Wednesday and Thursday. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

This year's NBA draft features potential starters and valuable role players more so than no-doubt future stars. That becomes evident when looking at the headlining prospects among big men.

French teenager Alexandre Sarr from France could go No. 1 overall with his length and defensive potential, key reasons why he has thrice topped the AP's NBA mock draft. Meanwhile, Donovan Clingan from two-time reigning national champion UConn also will likely be a high pick as a rim-protecting force.

It's just unclear how quickly any will be ready for a leading role in the league, particularly offensively.

Here's a look at some of the top players in the position:

Alexandre Sarr, France

STRENGTHS: The athleticism, mobility and length offer significant upside at both ends of the court for the 7-footer, whether as a rim protector and versatile defender or as a rim-runner off pick-and-rolls for lobs on offense. Sarr, 19, spent two seasons with the Overtime Elite developmental program for top prospects in the United States, then last season with Perth in the Australian-based National Basketball League as part of its “Next Stars” program. He ranked tied for second there by averaging 1.5 blocks despite averaging just 17.3 minutes.

He finished strong by averaging 10.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.3 assists in his last six games with Perth. He also ranked among the best at the combine with a wingspan of better than 7-4.

CONCERNS: He'll need time to add bulk to a lean 224-pound frame and handle the rigors of an NBA season. Developing more consistent 3-point range (he shot 29% in the NBL last season) will be key to fully realizing his defense-stretching potential.

Donovan Clingan, UConn

STRENGTHS: He is big, strong and surprisingly nimble for his imposing 7-2, 282-pound frame, which made him an interior shot-blocking force in the Huskies' run to college basketball's first repeat men's title in 17 years. He ranked eighth in Division I by averaging 2.5 blocks per game despite playing just 22.6 minutes, then had some massive games in the NCAA Tournament. That included eight blocks and 14 rebounds in the second-round win against Northwestern, followed by 22 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks in a regional final against Illinois (the Illini were 0 for 19 on Clingan-challenged shots ) and four more swats against Alabama in the Final Four.

The 20-year-old sophomore runs the floor well despite his bulk and is a strong finisher. He also was tied for first at the combine in standing reach (9-7) and was second in wingspan (nearly 7-7).

CONCERNS: It's unclear how well he might handle switches to defend outside the paint in space. While he shot nearly 64% to rank among the national leaders, he has rarely had to produce much outside of the paint. He also shot just 55.8% from the line in two seasons.

Kel'el Ware, Indiana

STRENGTHS: The 20-year-old sophomore has flashed intriguing two-way potential to make himself a first-round prospect, first in a season at Oregon and then last year at Indiana. He averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds and 1.9 blocks last season as a starter for the Hoosiers. He made 17 of 40 3-pointers (.425), indicating the potential for growth in terms of pulling defenders outside.

The 7-footer has a nearly 7-5 wingspan and tested well at the NBA combine by ranking second among bigs in the lane agility test (second at 10.97 seconds) and shuttle run (second, 2.91).

CONCERNS: He'll need to add strength to his 230-pound frame and improve at the line, where he shot just 63.4% last year.

Kyle Filipowski, Duke

STRENGTHS: The 6-11, 230-pound sophomore could play either forward or center as a first-round prospect. He was a steady producer by averaging 15.8 points and 8.6 rebounds with the Blue Devils. He also more than doubled his shot-blocking totals last year (54, up from 26 as a freshman) when having to work as Duke's interior anchor after Dereck Lively II's departure for the NBA. He has shown improved mobility and footwork after surgery on his hips before last season, and he has improved as an outside shooter (34.8% from 3 last year, up from 28.2% in 2022-23).

CONCERNS: Filipowski isn't an elite athlete, so he could be vulnerable defensively in space as well as struggle against physical play. He slipped at the foul line last year, shooting just 67.1% after checking in at 76.5% as a freshman.

Others of Note

—ZACH EDEY: The 7-4, 299-pound Purdue center is a two-time Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year who led the Boilermakers to last year’s NCAA title game as the national scoring leader (25.2) and Division I’s No. 2 rebounder (12.2). He closed his career with 37 points in the title-game loss to UConn. He has a ridiculous wingspan of nearly 7-11 to go with the ability to shoot over any defender. There is uncertainty whether the first-round prospect is athletic enough to handle defensive switches or guarding in space.

—DARON HOLMES II: The 6-9, 236-pound junior from Dayton spent the past two seasons putting up big numbers, averaging 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds while shooting 56.7%. He also hit 38.6% of his 3s last year and averaged 2.1 blocks for his college career. The Atlantic 10 co-player of the year and league defensive player of the year could go in the back half of the first round, though he is a bit undersized among bigs.

—YVES MISSI: The 6-11, 229-pound center from Baylor came on as the season went on as a one-and-done prospect with bouncy athleticism, helping him finish at the rim (61.4% shooting) and block shots (1.5). That could make him a pick-and-roll or lob threat in the pros, though the 20-year-old from Cameroon will have to expand his offense beyond those crowd-charging dunks and improve at the line (61.6%).

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