HOUSTON (CBS Radio) – George Springer homered twice, Luis Valbuena added a two-run homer and the pitching staff set a new Major League record for strikeouts in a three-game series as the Astros beat the Orioles, 4-2 in front of an announced crowd of 23,826 at Minute Maid Park on Thursday night. It was their first series sweep and three-game winning streak of the season. They now sit at 20-28 on the season.
Springer led off the bottom of the first with a 430-foot shot over the Crawford Boxes to give Houston a 1-0 lead, extending his on-base streak to 16 games. It was his second career leadoff home run and his tenth homer of the season. Mark Trumbo tied it a 1-1 with a solo home run of his own — his 14th of the season — to lead off the second, but Valbuena answered in the home half of the inning with his third home run in as many nights – a two-run homer in the second – to put Houston back on top 3-1. Springer belted home run No. 11 in the fifth to give the Astros a 4-1 lead.
Lance McCullers (1-1) struck out a season-high 10 batters on the way to his first win of 2016 after missing the first six weeks with right shoulder soreness. He walked the first two batters he faced but retired the next three to get out of the first inning. He gave up that home run to Trumbo to lead off the second but that was the only hit and run he allowed in five innings of work. He also walked six.
Michael Feliz shut down the Orioles (26-19) over the next two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four. When he struck out Baltimore’s Jonathan Schoop in the sixth, it was No. 48 for the Astros staff in the series, which set a new Major League record for strikeouts in a three-game series. The previous record was 47 recorded by the Nationals earlier this season versus Minnesota. Will Harris allowed one hit and recorded a strike out in the seventh inning, extending his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings, which is the Majors’ longest active streak. The bullpen had thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings until Ken Giles allowed an RBI single in the ninth as the Orioles pulled within a couple runs, but he was able to close it out for his first save with the Astros. The staff ended up with 15 strikeouts on the night after notching 19 in 13 innings on Tuesday night and 18 on Wednesday for a total of 52 for the series.
The Astros head out for a five-game road trip, starting with the Angels for a three-game weekend series. Mike Fiers (3-2, 4.35 ERA) is on the mound for Houston while Matt Schoemaker (2-5, 6.81 ERA) goes for the Angels.