Astros' knack for timely knocks stays evident

All 4 runs against Braves score with 2 outs

Astros' knack for timely knocks stays evident

HOUSTON -- The Astros have been bolstered all season by timely hitting from a deep, patient lineup, and they further built upon that reputation in Wednesday's 4-2 comeback victory over the Braves.

In nine at-bats with at least one runner in scoring position, the Astros drove in four runs and reached base five times -- three via hit, and two more by walk. For the season, Houston's .307 mark with RISP leads the American League.

"The comfort that our players have in being in these critical moments is what I'm seeing that I like," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Our resiliency [stands out]. We have a real calmness to us in the competition. I think we have some hyperness behind the scenes, but when the competition grows, we know we have 27 outs. There's a steadiness to us that I think comes from the maturation of our young core and the additions of wily veterans like [Josh] Reddick, [Brian] McCann, and [Carlos] Beltran."

The Astros, off to a franchise-best 23-11 start through 34 games, lead the Majors with 15 comeback wins -- and their win Wednesday was the latest. Atlanta went up 2-1 on fourth-inning home runs from Freddie Freeman and Adonis Garcia, and the Astros initially found harsh luck with two ground-ball double plays with none out by Evan Gattis in the fourth and George Springer in the fifth.

But even with two outs and none on, the Astros weren't deterred. Starting with Beltran, the next five Astros all reached in the fifth vs. Atlanta starter Jaime Garcia -- including a two-run double to deep left from Carlos Correa to put Houston back in front, and a subsequent RBI single up the middle from Yuli Gurriel.

Correa's two-run double

"I was just trying to get a good pitch to hit," said Correa, who's hitting .338 with three homers, 14 RBIs and a 1.025 OPS in his last 16 games. "He hung a slider over the middle of the plate, and I was able to drive it for us to take the lead."

Correa added another double in the seventh, giving him 10 doubles over his past 14 games. That total leads the Majors over that span.

"I know he had a little bit of a rough start to the season, but I think him being up in the middle of the order with the game on the line is exactly what he thrives in," Hinch said of Correa.

All four runs for the Astros -- three in the fifth, and one in the third on a two-out RBI double from Springer -- came after innings that began with two outs and no one on base. Springer's hit extended his hitting streak to a season-best nine games.

Springer's RBI double

"They give us three outs every inning, and we need to use them," Hinch said. "You can score at any time with this lineup, and I think our guys believe that wholeheartedly. The resiliency, the persistence, the ability to continue coming at these [opposing pitchers] is one of the endearing qualities of our offense. They're staying in the moment in any at-bat, whatever the game calls for."

The Astros now fly to New York for a four-game series with the surprising Yankees in a series billed by many as a potential playoff preview. But the Astros aren't treating it as anything out of the ordinary. To them, what matters is keeping the same steady, even-keeled approach that's already served them so well over the season's first 34 games.

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"We don't need to gauge our team," Hinch said. "We know we've got a good team. We sort of focus on ourselves, not our opponent, when it comes to style of play and what we can do well. Our guys have a pretty good idea of what it takes to play our brand of baseball."

Ben DuBose is a contributor to MLB.com based in Houston who covered the Astros on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.