By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Chas McCormick hit a two-run homer in the second and a tiebreaking shot in the sixth to lift the Houston Astros to a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Guardians on Wednesday.
The victory completes a three-game sweep and comes a day after Framber Valdez threw the 16th no-hitter in franchise history in a 2-0 win Tuesday night.
It’s the third multi-homer game of McCormick’s career and second this season.
He led the way on a day the Astros went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
“You’ve got to have some guys hot in there, especially when you’re leaving runners on base because we had opportunities to blow that game open many times,” manager Dusty Baker said. “So I’m just glad that Chas had a big day.”
Oscar Gonzalez reached on an error by second baseman Mauricio Dubón to start the ninth. But Ryan Pressly struck out Bo Naylor before retiring Gabriel Arias on a fly ball and striking out Steven Kwan to end it and get his 26th save.
Houston’s Ronel Blanco, who was recalled from Triple-A Sugar Land before the game, yielded five hits and two runs with four walks in four innings. Phil Maton (3-3) allowed one hit in the sixth for the win.
Will Brennan doubled for Cleveland with one out in the eighth before David Fry walked. But Brayan Rocchio grounded into a double play to end the threat.
The Guardians have dropped five of their last six games.
“We hit about three balls to the wrong part of the ballpark. … we needed one of those to be somewhere else because we didn’t have a ton of opportunities,” manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland starter Tanner Bibee allowed seven hits and two runs in five innings.
Rocchio and Gonzalez hit consecutive singles to open the second inning before Naylor walked to load the bases.
Arias then smacked a double to left field to score 2 and put the Guardians on top.
José Abreu singled to start the bottom of the inning before McCormick connected on his first homer to tie it.
Nick Sandlin (5-4) took over for Bibee to start the sixth and was greeted by McCormick’s second shot of the day to give Houston the lead.
“It was nice to get the sweep today,” McCormick said. “I just made sure I came ready to play. I think yesterday I just played like crap. And today I made sure to be ready to hit the pitches they were going to throw me and I got myself prepared well today and I’m happy to put some good swings on balls and we ended up winning.”
Justin Verlander is expected to join the Astros in New York on Thursday before the start of a series against the Yankees after being reacquired in a trade with the New York Mets on Tuesday. The Astros haven’t announced their rotation past Friday, but Baker said Wednesday that there’s a possibility that Verlander starts Saturday.
Guardians: Cleveland is off Thursday before LHP Logan Allen (4-4, 3.70 ERA) opposes Chicago RHP Mike Clevinger (4-4, 3.59) in the opener of a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday night.
Astros: Houston RHP Cristian Javier (7-2, 4.33) opposes RHP Clarke Schmidt (7-6, 4.39) in Thursday night’s opener against the Yankees.