Astros shortstop Tommy Manzella breaks finger, out six weeks

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It’s a tough blow for a 27-year-old who probably isn’t in line for many chances to establish himself in the big leagues.
Tommy Manzella, who took over as the Astros’ shortstop when Miguel Tejada was allowed to leave over the winter, will miss six weeks after being diagnosed with a fractured left index finger. The team called up Oswaldo Navarro to replace him.
Manzella’s calling card is his glove, but he did improve to .289/.339/.417 in 580 at-bats in Triple-A last year, giving the Astros some hope that he wouldn’t be a complete offensive zero this season.
Unfortunately, he’s regressed substantially. Manzella was hitting just .212/.259/.254 in 189 at-bats. Not only wasn’t he showing any power, but he wasn’t even making contact, having struck out 57 times.
The Astros will use Navarro and Geoff Blum at shortstop for now.
Navarro debuted in the majors with the Mariners as a 21-year-old in 2006, but he hadn’t been back since until appearing in three games with Houston last month. He was hitting .298/.400/.466 while splitting time between short and second for Triple-A Round Rock, so he’s worthy of the opportunity. If he hits, then Manzella might not have a job awaiting him when he returns.
Blum, of course, offers oodles of veteran presence to go along with a 555 OPS in 115 at-bats this season and a third baseman’s range. With any luck, he’ll remain on the bench while Navarro is given a chance to seize the job.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.