Triston McKenzie pitched seven strong innings while Jose Ramirez drove in four runs as the visiting Cleveland Guardians cruised to a 6-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Monday.
McKenzie (3-3) produced his fourth consecutive quality start, limiting the Astros to one run on three hits and one walk with three strikeouts. He retired the side in order in the first, fourth and fifth innings and faced the minimum in the third despite allowing a one-out single to Martin Maldonado, who was later erased when Jose Altuve rolled into an inning-ending double play.
McKenzie retired eight consecutive batters following the Altuve double play, a dominant stretch snapped by Altuve when he smoked a double to left field with two outs in the sixth.
McKenzie had his shutout bid ended in the seventh when Astros third baseman Alex Bregman opened that frame with his sixth home run, an opposite-field shot to right-center, but McKenzie retired the ensuing three batters with ease. McKenzie threw 95 pitches, 62 for strikes, and has allowed six earned runs on 12 hits and six walks with 20 strikeouts over his last four starts and 26 1/3 innings.
Ramirez, who entered the series tied for the major league lead with 37 RBIs, hit a two-out double in his first at-bat before doubling the Guardians' lead with a run-scoring groundout in the third. Cleveland had already taken advantage of the first of two critical Houston errors earlier in the frame when Astros right-hander Luis Garcia (3-3) made an errant throw into center field trying to start a potential inning-ending double play after fielding a grounder from Amed Rosario.
Luke Maile, who went 3-for-3 with three runs batting ninth, scored on the error while Myles Straw took third. Straw scored when Ramirez delivered his RBI grounder. Ramirez later clubbed his 10th homer, a two-run shot to center that plated Maile and extended the lead to 4-0 in the fifth. Ramirez added an RBI single in the Guardians' two-run seventh.
Ramirez finished 2-for-5. Garcia allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts over five innings. Straw scored on a Jeremy Pena throwing error in the seventh.
--Field Level Media