Jake Meyers homers as Astros avoid sweep with 4-3 win over Phillies

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON – Astros manager Dusty Baker didn’t want to make too much of a win in April – but he sure was glad to get it.

Jake Meyers homered, Martín Maldonado broke out of his slump with an RBI double and Houston defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 to avoid a three-game sweep.

The Astros beat Philadelphia in six games to win last year’s World Series. But the Phillies dominated the first two games of the rematch, winning by a combined score of 9-2.

“It was, it was huge, especially against the team that we faced in the World Series,” Baker said. “You’ve got to win these games when you’re struggling and it was big for us to salvage a win.”

Houston finally mustered some offense Sunday to end the weekend on a high note.

Maldonado’s double in the second inning snapped an 0-for-24 slide and put the Astros on top 2-1.

“It felt really good,” Maldonado said. “I’ve been working, doing a lot of stuff in the cage with the hitting coaches, and so just to be able to drive the ball the other way I think was a good start.”

The home run by Meyers made it 3-1 in the fourth.

Kody Clemens homered for a second straight game and J.T. Realmuto also went deep for the Phillies, who had won a season-best four in a row.

Clemens, born and raised in Houston, is the son of pitching great Roger Clemens, who spent 2004-06 with the Astros.

“He’s got a little bragging rights in his hometown now,” Baker said.

The Astros led 4-2 in the eighth before Kyle Schwarber scored with two outs on an error by third baseman Alex Bregman that allowed Realmuto to reach safely.

Ryan Pressly threw a perfect ninth for his third save.

Houston starter José Urquidy (2-2) allowed three hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings before leaving with a sore right shoulder. He bounced back after giving up seven hits and six runs over 2 2/3 innings in his last start.

Urquidy said he was examined by a doctor Sunday night and will be re-evaluated Monday.

Bailey Falter (0-5) yielded eight hits and four runs with three walks in 4 1/3 innings.

The Astros got things going early when they loaded the bases with no outs in the first before José Abreu grounded into a double play that made it 1-0.

There were two outs in the second when Realmuto homered to tie it.

David Hensley also ended an 0-for-24 slide and got his first extra-base hit of the season when he doubled to start the Houston second. With two outs, Maldonado hit a ground-rule double that scored Hensley to make it 2-1.

The Astros extended the lead to 3-1 when Meyers sent one into the seats in left field with one out in the fourth.

The homer by Clemens cut the deficit to one in the fifth.

Bregman walked with no outs in the fifth before Yordan Alvarez hit an infield single. Alvarez has reached safely in each of his 22 games this season.

There was one out in the inning when Bregman scored on a single by Kyle Tucker that made it 4-2.


Phillies: Star slugger Bryce Harper could return to the lineup as early as Tuesday if an exam on his surgically repaired right elbow goes well. On Monday in Los Angeles, the two-time NL MVP will visit Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who performed Tommy John surgery on Harper last November.

“He’s pretty geeked up about getting out there and playing,” manager Rob Thomson said. “He’s itching.”

Astros: OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder) went 1 for 3 with an RBI in his fifth rehabilitation game with Triple-A Sugar Land. … OF Chas McCormick (lower back) was 1 for 4 in his second rehab start for Double-A Corpus Christi.


Phillies: Taijuan Walker (2-1, 4.97 ERA) opposes right-hander Tony Gonsolin when Philadelphia opens a three-game series Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Astros: Luis García (2-2, 4.00 ERA) faces San Francisco RHP Ross Stripling (0-1, 6.89) in the opener of a three-game series with the Giants.

Nationals blow 6-run lead, rebound to beat Phillies 8-7

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WASHINGTON (AP) Lane Thomas singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals sent the Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight loss, winning 8-7 after blowing a six-run lead.

The defending NL champion Phillies have just five victories in their last 18 games and are tied with the Nationals at the bottom of the NL East at 25-32.

“We’ve got to overcome it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We’ve got to play better, get consistent in all phases and keep moving forward.”

Alex Call drew a two-out walk against Connor Brogdon (2-1) in the eighth, stole second on a low pitch that catcher JT Realmuto couldn’t make a throw on and scored on Thomas’ single to right center.

“The way Lane’s swinging the bat, if you can get on second base, we can win the game,” Call said. “I look over and the ball’s in the dirt, he doesn’t catch it. Now I’m saying: ‘All right, Lane. Come on!’”

Kyle Finnegan (3-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory, stranding the tying run on second in the ninth.

Nick Castellanos homered twice, singled, doubled and drove in five runs for Philadelphia, which had scored just three runs in its past three games.

“There’s definitely a lot of positives as a group,” Castellanos said. “Showing some fight. It would have been really, really easy to lay down and allow the way the game started to be the way that it finished.”

Down 7-1 after four innings, Philadelphia tied it at 7 in the eighth. Brandon Marsh worked a nine-pitch walk against Mason Thompson leading off, and Drew Ellis singled with one out. Finnegan came on to face Kyle Schwarber, who hit a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop CJ Abrams fielded it behind it behind second base, touched second for one out, but threw wildly to first and Marsh came home with the tying run.

Castellanos’s second homer, a two-run shot to center in the sixth, pulled the Phillies to 7-3 and Marsh added an RBI single in the inning.

In the seventh, Schwarber doubled with one out and Bryson Scott reached on an infield single. Hunter Harvey came on and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. Castellanos singled to center scoring two runs to make it 7-6.

Luis Garcia homered and Jeimer Candelario doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who have won seven of 12.

Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler, coming off eight shutout innings against Atlanta, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“This one’s on me really,” Wheeler said. “Guys battled back. Just couldn’t finish it out. We know who we have in this room and what we’ve got to do.”

Josiah Gray gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings for Washington.

Candelario doubled just beyond the reach of left fielder Schwarber to drive in the first of Washington’s two runs in the first.

In the second, Abrams hit a one-out drive to deep center that Marsh misplayed into a double. With two outs and two on, Candelario doubled off the wall in right center to make it 5-0.

Garcia ended Wheeler’s night with a solo homer in the fourth.

“When you come out the way we did, you’ve got to tack on,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It didn’t happen tonight, but we got one more than the other guys.”


Candelario is 9 for 26 (.346) with four doubles, a home run, nine RBIs, five walks, and seven runs scored in his last seven games.


Phillies: Thomson said RHP Taijuan Walker played catch Friday and there are “no worries about his next start.” In a four-inning outing against the Mets on Thursday, Walker’s sinker velocity averaged 90.6 mph, down from 92.7 mph for the season. His fastball, splitter and curveball velocity also dropped.

Nationals: OF Victor Robles (back spasms) took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the injured list. … LHP Sean Doolittle (elbow) gave up a run on two hits and struck out two batters in 2/3 of an inning working his second straight night for Class A Fredericksburg.


Phillies: LHP Matt Strahm (4-3, 3.20) will start a bullpen game on Saturday.

Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.57) went seven innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters in his previous outing – a no decision against the Royals.

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