(AP) – Jose Altuve homered for the fourth time in three games, Michael Brantley and Abraham Toro also connected, and the Houston Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 10-2 on Thursday night.
“He continues to amaze us hitting the ball out of the ballpark," manager Dusty Baker said of Altuve, who leads the team with 16 homers. “We'll take all he can give us.”
Jose Urquidy (5-3) pitched seven strong innings to stifle Chicago's powerful lineup, backed by a three-run shot from Brantley and a career-best four RBIs by Toro. Houston won its fourth straight.
There were two on in the first when Brantley knocked his homer off Dylan Cease (5-3) into the seats in right field.
Toro, who entered without an RBI in six games this season, drove in two runs with a single during Houston’s four-run fourth and hit a two-run shot that pushed the lead to 10-2 in the seventh.
Baker has been impressed with Toro's performance since being recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land on Tuesday. The Astros will need his contributions, with third baseman Alex Bregman out indefinitely with a quadriceps injury.
“It’s good to come up here and see that your hard work and improvements paid off so quickly," Baker said. “With Bregman out, everybody has to do a little bit more. He did a lot more."
Altuve homered off Matt Foster, a solo shot with one out in the sixth. The star second baseman hit a walk-off grand slam in the 10th inning against Texas on Tuesday night before slugging two homers in a win over the Rangers on Wednesday night.
“I’m not going up there trying to hit a homer," Altuve said. “But I’m getting good pitches and hitting the ball pretty hard. I’m just happy we’re winning some games."
Cease yielded four hits and a season-high seven runs — six earned — in 3 1/3 innings to tie his shortest start of the season.
“He’s been outstanding," White Sox manager Tony La Russa said. “Today was the first game where his secondary stuff was inconsistent."
Cease settled down after Brantley’s homer and retired his next nine batters before getting into trouble in the fourth. He walked Yuli Gurriel to start the inning before plunking Yordan Alvarez.
Carlos Correa’s ground-rule double scored Gurriel to make it 4-0. Toro’s single came next to put Houston up 6-0.
“They’re obviously a good offensive team and if you put them in hitters' counts it’s going to be tough," Cease said.
Toro stole second base and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Cease walked Jason Castro with one out to end his night. Zack Burdi took over, and Altuve scored Toro with a sacrifice fly.
Urquidy permitted four hits and two runs with five strikeouts. He retired 10 straight before Brian Goodwin opened the sixth with a double. Goodwin moved to third on a groundout by Tim Anderson for the second out and scored on a single by Adam Engel that made it 7-1.
Yoán Moncada walked, and a single by José Abreu scored another run to cut the lead to 7-2.
White Sox: OF Adam Eaton was placed on the injured list with a strained right hamstring. Burdi was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte.
Astros: Bregman was placed on the injured list with a strained left quadriceps after he was injured Wednesday night. Baker said there isn’t currently a timetable for Bregman's return. ... C Garrett Stubbs was recalled from Sugar Land to take Bregman's roster spot.
La Russa, who is 76, and Baker, who turned 72 this week, are the two oldest managers in the majors, and Thursday night marked the first MLB game with two managers who were 70 or older since San Francisco’s Felipe Alou (71) and Washington’s Frank Robinson (70) met on Aug. 2, 2006.
It was the first meeting between La Russa and Baker since Sept. 4, 2011, when Baker’s Reds beat the Cardinals 3-2.
Chicago LHP Carlos Rodon (6-2, 1.89 ERA) will oppose Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.98) when the series continues Friday night.
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