Houston Astros' Carlos Correa breaks his bat in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in New York City. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
HOUSTON -- Ascendant shortstop Carlos Correa now has All-Star credentials, but what makes the Houston Astros so dangerous offensively is the impressive depth of their lineup, one that features the likes of first baseman Yuli Gurriel batting eighth.
Correa had a career-high-tying four hits, Gurriel chipped in with his second consecutive three-hit game and a weary bullpen worked wonders in the Astros' 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
Correa recorded two singles and a pair of doubles, including one with two outs in the fourth inning that plated two runs, and Gurriel fell a triple shy of the cycle as the Astros (56-27) claimed the rubber match of the three-game series.
Gurriel scored three runs and clubbed his 10th homer of the season and second of the series in the seventh. He became the eighth Houston player to reach double figures in home runs by the All-Star break, a club record.
"When he's swinging the bat like he has recently, it's pretty scary to have that good a hitter that low in the order," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said of Gurriel, who closed the series 6-for-12 with four runs and six RBIs. "He's dangerous, and when he gets hot, as we can see, he can put some really good swings on balls.
"It's a great advantage for us because you don't have an inning where you can breathe as a pitcher when you face us, and I think we're demonstrating that time and time again."
Astros right-hander Mike Fiers labored with his control and efficiency, needing 105 pitches to complete four scoreless innings. He allowed two hits and posted seven strikeouts but issued four walks and subsequently put the onus on an overworked bullpen to keep the Yankees (43-37) at bay over the final five innings.
The relievers obliged.
Right-handers Chris Devenski (5-3) and Michael Feliz combined to work three perfect innings with five strikeouts. Right-hander James Hoyt surrendered hits to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez in the eighth, snapping a string of 15 consecutive batters retired, but rallied with a pair of flyouts to right for a scoreless frame.
"Yeah it's been tough, but at the end of the day we've got to go out there and do our job," Devenski said of the heavy workload. "And find a way to get it done."
The Yankees averted the shutout, which would have been their first this season, when Chris Carter followed a leadoff double by Chase Headley with an RBI single off Astros southpaw Ashur Tolliver in the ninth. Dayan Diaz, fresh off his first career win on Saturday, induced a double play before striking out Brett Gardner.
In the second inning, Houston third baseman Marwin Gonzalez broke the scoreless tie with a two-run homer, his career-high 14th, off Yankees starter Luis Severino (5-4). Correa upped the lead to 5-0 with his double in the fourth before adding an RBI single in the sixth inning that plated George Springer and built the lead to 6-0.
Severino allowed six runs on nine hits and one walk over 5 1/3 innings.
"It's difficult," Severino said. "Right now, that's the hottest team in baseball. You have to command your pitches. It'd be easier if my fastball command was there and my slider was working."
The Astros completed the season series against the Yankees by winning five of seven games. The Yankees finished 3-4 on their road trip.
"We're in a frustrating part of our year, but I think this week is really important for us at home to turn things around and win some games we're supposed to," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
NOTES: Yankees RHP Adam Warren threw a simulated game on Sunday and is expected to be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday when the Yankees host the Toronto Blue Jays. Warren landed on the DL on June 16 with right shoulder inflammation. ... The Astros recalled LHP Ashur Tolliver from Triple-A Fresno for the purpose of having an additional arm for their exhausted bullpen. Houston had nine relievers listed on their roster. ... Yankees LHP CC Sabathia will be reinstated from the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday and will start against the Toronto Blue Jays. Sabathia has been sidelined since June 15 with a left hamstring strain. ... Astros SS Carlos Correa declined an invitation to participate in the Home Run Derby during All-Star week. Correa entered Sunday leading major league shortstops with 17 home runs.