Houston Astros Bring Out Big Bats, Pulverize Milwaukee Brewers

By Daniel Jamieson
Troy Taormina – USA Today Sports

A month ago, the Houston Astros were 15 games back of first place in the AL West. Today, they are 15.5 games back of the leading Oakland Athletics.

Essentially, they haven’t lost ground to one of the hottest teams in baseball. During this period, the Astros are 17-15, which isn’t bad considering they began the season 10-30 and at one point were on pace for a 40-win season. Now it looks more like 60, which is still terrible, but a vast improvement nonetheless. They are just four games behind Los Angeles Angels, and could easily catch the overpaid ones.

The Astros are 63-39 all-time against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park, and after nine innings on Tuesday, you could see why. Houston put 10 runs past the bewildered Brewers, who could do nothing but grin and bear it.

Justin Maxwell returned from the disabled list after suffering a broken hand on a wild pitch back in April. He had missed 51 games but obviously lost none of his hustle, as he burned around the bases with the vigor of a man who is happy to be back on the big stage.

The Astros outfield is looking very dangerous now, and as Maxwell brings his own flavor of speed and solid defense, spots in the roster are no sure thing. Maxwell stood on third base last night with feet itching to be brought home, and Marwin Gonzales, who leads the American League with eight sacrifice bunts, laid down a perfect assist to bring him in.

Carlos Pena got the big bats rolling as he clobbered a no-doubt home run to right field with strength that harkened back to his good old days. It was Matt Dominguez, who has been scrutinized lately, who stole the show. His grand-slam was part of a five-run seventh inning in which the Astros effectively said good night to the Brewers.

The Astros ran the bases with intelligence and absolutely took advantage of their chances, scoring 10 runs on just eight hits. They have won five of their last six, and Erik Bedard takes to the mound tonight to continue proving that this is no fluke – the Astros are hot.

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