Houston slugs its way past Atlanta
by Kristie Rieken
Associated Press Sports Writer
June 27, 2014 04:04 AM | 988 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Within a run in the fifth inning, Mike Minor gave up a three-run home run to Matt Dominguez, which allowed the Astros to pull away Thursday.
<Br>Associated Press photo
Within a run in the fifth inning, Mike Minor gave up a three-run home run to Matt Dominguez, which allowed the Astros to pull away Thursday.
Associated Press photo
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HOUSTON — Atlanta starter Mike Minor was pitching well Thursday before one big mistake broke open a close game in a 6-1 loss to the Houston Astros.

The Braves trailed by one run in the fifth inning when Matt Dominguez snapped a 0-for-23 skid with a three-run homer to left-center field off Minor (2-5) to push the lead to 5-1.

“I’d like to have one pitch back really,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said about the home run ball to Dominguez. “You look back on in the course of the game when you’re dissecting a little bit and you go: ‘Wait a second.’ We keep it within one run and it’s a different story. It became a four-run game there and it was a 0-2 pitch, which makes it even tougher.”

Houston starter Jarred Cosart (8-5) allowed six hits and a run in seven innings for his fourth straight victory.

“He’s got some plus pitches that he was mixing up and we couldn’t solve him,” Justin Upton said.

George Springer’s solo homer off Juan Jaime in the seventh pushed the lead to 6-1. He has 15 homers this season, the most by a rookie in franchise history before the All-Star break. Lance Berkman had the previous mark with 12 in 2000.

Minor gave up seven hits and five runs in six innings to remain winless since May 19.

“I was missing a lot of balls middle,” Minor said. “I was getting lucky. They barreled a couple balls that were popped up so I don’t know if it was a matter of time because I felt like I was battling pretty good.”

Jon Singleton had two hits and an RBI, and Jose Altuve added a pair of hits and swiped two bases for the Astros, who had managed just four runs combined and had been shut out twice in a four-game losing streak. Altuve leads the American League with 107 hits and 30 steals.

Upton had two hits Thursday and hit .364 with two homers and four RBIs in the series. B.J. Upton had a hit and scored Atlanta’s only run.

“Things just didn’t go our way,” Justin Upton said. “For the most part we tried to play a little small ball with our run-scoring struggles and we’ve done a pretty good job of it. (Thursday) it didn’t work out for us and we didn’t get the big ball either.”

The Braves had trouble stringing together hits against Cosart and he was helped by the Astros turning a pair of double plays. Evan Gattis doubled to start the seventh before Jason Heyward drew a walk, but Cosart retired the next three batters to end the threat.

B.J. Upton hit a leadoff single before stealing second and taking third on an error on the throw by Jason Castro. The Braves went up 1-0 when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Tommy La Stella.

Altuve singled and a double by Singleton, which bounced off the wall in left field, sent him home to tie it at 1-1 in the first.

Minor plunked Dominguez to start Houston’s fourth before a double by Castro. The Astros took a 2-1 lead when Castro scored on a groundout by Jesus Guzman.

NOTES: The Astros opened the gates 30 minutes early Thursday to allow fans to watch the World Cup match between the United States and Germany on the stadium’s big screens. ... Atlanta 1B Freddie Freeman was back in the lineup after leaving Wednesday night’s game in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch on the right elbow. ... Houston selected the contract of RHP Jose Veras from Triple-A Oklahoma City and outrighted RHP Kyle Farnsworth before the game and he has elected free agency. Veras struck out Justin Upton for the last out of the game.
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