Kyle Tucker recorded a pair of RBI triples in a breakout eight-run sixth inning as the Houston Astros claimed the rubber match of their three-game interleague series with the visiting San Diego Padres, 12-2, on Sunday.
The Astros (82-62) moved a season-high 20 games over .500 and extended their lead in the American League West to 2 1/2 games over the Seattle Mariners, who lost 6-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays earlier Sunday.
The Padres (67-77) sliced a four-run deficit to 4-1 in the top of the sixth via a Matt Carpenter home run off Astros rookie right-hander J.P. France (11-5), but Houston quickly squashed any threat of a comeback, doing so with an unrelenting assault on Padres reliever Tim Hill.
Hill replaced Padres rookie Matt Waldron (0-3), who limited the Astros to four runs on four hits and two walks with one strikeout over five innings in his third career start.
Six consecutive Astros reached against Hill before he departed with the bases loaded having failed to record an out. Tucker followed a leadoff double from Alex Bregman with his first triple of the season to extend the Houston lead to 5-1. Jose Abreu added a run-scoring single that plated Tucker before Michael Brantley and Chas McCormick added singles that loaded the bases for Yainer Diaz, whose single chased Hill and pushed the Astros to a 7-1 advantage.
Rich Hill replaced Tim Hill, but the onslaught continued unabated when Jose Altuve (hit by pitch) and Jeremy Pena (fielding error by Padres catcher Luis Campusano) reached before Yordan Alvarez and Bregman added sacrifice flies that extended the lead to 11-1. Tucker capped the outburst with his second triple of the frame, driving in Pena.
Campusano endured a rough day. He committed a pair of errors and had two passed balls on his ledger, one of which allowed McCormick to score in the third. Padres rookie third baseman Eguy Rosario smacked his first career home run in the seventh inning, but his fielding error in the fourth enabled Tucker to score from third as Houston pushed its lead to 4-0.
France allowed one run despite walking five over six innings. He induced inning-ending double plays in the third and fifth to escape potential trouble.
Tucker, Alvarez and McCormick posted two hits apiece. Jose Altuve slugged his 16th home run of the season, a two-run shot, off Waldron in the third.
–Field Level Media