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.