I was paying attention to Matt Stairs more closely to see when he’d get his first hit at all this season. Little did I know — until I read Adam Kilgore’s story in this morning’s Washington Post anyway — that the hit he had in last night’s game was his 100th career pinch hit.
Strange career for a neat guy. There aren’t many non-head cases who have played for a bunch of different teams, but Stairs is decidedly not that and has played for 13. A lot of that has to do with his pinch-hitting rep — those guys don’t last on the same team for a very long time — but I kind of suspect that a lot of guys could be pinch hitters. With Stairs I’m sure it has a lot to do with his willingness to take on the role with little fuss and the fact that he’s really likable. Need a pinch hitter this year? OK, call Stairs.
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.