Alvarez ends slump with 2-run HR as Astros beat Indians 4-3

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JULY 19: Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros hits a two-run home run in the fifth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Minute Maid Park on July 19, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) (Robert H. Levey, 2021 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Yordan Alvarez snapped an 0-for-22 slump with a two-run homer to help the Houston Astros to a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.

The Astros were up by 1 with one out in the fifth inning when Alvarez connected off rookie J.C. Mejía (1-5) on his soaring shot to the second deck in right field to make it 4-1.

“I wasn’t exactly how I wanted to be in the box," Alvarez said in Spanish through a translator. “I was able to make some adjustments that helped me out in that at-bat."

Alvarez held his bat and watched the ball for a few seconds before trotting to first base, and the slugger received lots of high-fives and hugs in the dugout after ending his slump in grand fashion.

“We needed it and that was the difference in the game," manager Dusty Baker said. “It’s nice to see him swing the bat... hopefully tonight we found something."

Alvarez also doubled and Michael Brantley added two hits to help the Astros to their second straight victory.

Baker said that Alvarez felt some soreness in his hamstring while running on his double in the seventh inning and that he would be evaluated on Tuesday.

Houston starter Zack Greinke (9-3) yielded five hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings.

“His velocity was good, his location was good. We were very satisfied with how he threw the ball," Baker said.

Ryan Pressly walked one in a scoreless ninth for his 17th save.

There were runners at first and second with two outs in the eighth when Harold Ramirez hit an RBI single on a liner to the corner of right field to cut the lead to 1. But Ryne Stanek struck out Bradley Zimmer to end the inning.

Franmil Reyes hit a solo homer and an RBI single for the Indians, whose two-game winning streak ended.

Mejía permitted seven hits and four runs while striking out a career-high eight in 4 1/3 innings in his eighth major league start.

“That was a lot of traffic and he gave up four," manager Terry Francona said. “He didn’t wilt with the way they were pressuring him the whole time. The eight strikeouts say the stuff is there."

Brantley singled with one out in the first and Houston took a 1-0 lead when he scored on a double by Yuli Gurriel.

Amed Rosario singled to start the fourth but was erased when José Ramírez grounded into a double play. Reyes followed with his blast to left field to tie it at 1-all.

Chas McCormick hit a one-out single in the bottom of the inning and reached second on a groundout by Robel Garcia. The Astros regained the lead on an RBI single by Martín Maldonado.

There were runners at first and third with one out in the sixth when Greinke was replaced by Cristian Javier. He was greeted with an RBI single by Reyes that cut the lead to 4-2. But Reyes was out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double.

Javier walked Bradley but limited the damage by retiring Harold Ramirez to end the inning.


Indians: Last season’s AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber threw on Monday for the first time since he was shut down in June with shoulder soreness. He threw from 60 feet. There isn’t a timetable for his return. ... OF Eddie Rosario (right abdominal strain) has been making progress toward a return and Francona said he should have more information on his status later this week. ... RHP DJ Johnson was optioned to Triple-A Columbus to make room from Mejia on the roster.

Astros: RHP Jose Urquidy (right shoulder discomfort) has been throwing on flat ground but it’s still unclear when he’ll return. ... RHP Andre Scrubb was placed on the injured list, retroactive to July 17, with a right shoulder strain. ... C Garrett Stubbs was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land to take his spot on the roster.


Reyes on why he likes hitting at Minute Maid Park: “My favorite way to play is when it’s a day game but it’s a little bit cloudy. I like those games because I see the ball so clear. So these stadiums (are like that) and are really cool to play in."


Houston’s Luis Garcia (6-5, 3.06 ERA) will oppose Triston McKenzie (1-3, 5.47) when the series continues Tuesday night.


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