BOSTON — How do you counter an opposing pitcher who notates three outs on just five pitches? In the next inning, he hit five homers from him.
Houston broke a franchise record and hit a Major League mark in Tuesday’s 13-4 win over Boston by tagging Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi for five home runs in the second inning to give the club a hefty 9-1 lead To provide. The Astros finished the night with 15 hits and accounted for six of the game’s eight home runs.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before,” manager Dusty Baker said. “I’ve had some good teams, played in some good teams. But… that was just the thing.”
The historic run began with Yordan Alvarez sending a 97.7 mph fastball into the Green Monster’s seats to briefly tie the Yankees’ Aaron Judge for the MLB home run lead (12). The next long ball came courtesy of Kyle Tucker, who got right fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. to scale the wall when the ball sailed over the Astros’ bullpen for a two-run homer. Then, on his debut at Fenway Park, New England native Jeremy Peña hit his seventh major league homer and Houston’s third of the inning.
With no one warming up in the Boston bullpen after a flyout, a singles and a doubles, Michael Brantley stepped up and sent one into the stands in right field to drive in three more heats. And finally, the homer that set the club’s new mark came from Yuli Gurriel, going deep into left midfield.
Their previous record was four homers in an inning on September 8, 2004, when Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman and Mike Lamb each went deep in the first against the Reds.
Right-hander Tyler Danish relieved Eovaldi and pulled Tucker back to end the inning. When the third out was recorded, the Astros had recorded 1,970 foot home runs.
A team has hit five homers in a single inning just eight times, including Tuesday:
• Astros, 2nd (May 17, 2022)
• Yankees, 4th (September 17, 2020)
• Nationals, 3rd (July 27, 2017)
• Brewer, 4th (April 22, 2006)
• Gemini, 7th (June 9, 1966)
• Giants, 9th (23 Aug 1961)
• Phillies, 8th (June 2, 1949)
• Giants, 4th (June 6, 1939)
“I mean, we have a great ball club,” Peña said, “and we know we can do damage. And it was just one after the other, and you just lose track, and you’re in the moment — you’re not really thinking about the records and all that stuff. We heard about the record after the game. But it was great to see.”
The Astros continued to hit after the end of the second inning. Their 15 on Tuesday equaled a season-high – they also hit 15 against the Twins in the ending of a suspended game Thursday — and their 13 carries tied for another season-high (most recently on April 8 against the Angels in Anaheim).
With solo home runs from Alvarez and Peña, two-run shots from Tucker and Gurriel, and a three-run home run from Brantley, the only thing missing from the home run cycle was a grand slam.
Tucker dealt with it two innings later, giving Houston a 13-3 lead with a grand slam to right field, his seventh homer of the season and second of the night.
Strong offensive performance doesn’t exactly come as a shock to the 2022 Astros. After Tuesday’s win, Houston is close to the top in a number of offensive categories — including leading the majors with 55 home runs, third in the American League with 167 runs and second in the AL with a .422 batting percentage.
But an inning with five homers on a six-homer night falls into a category of its own, especially against a veteran pitcher like Eovaldi.
“There’s no explanation for that,” Baker said. “I mean, sometimes you meet the big ones [pitchers] well and sometimes, you know, so-so [pitchers] you don’t meet her There isn’t an explanation for everything. … It’s not that easy to hit home runs and like I said, it was just our day.
“The boys didn’t like the taste of losing last night and that’s why they came ready to play tonight. I mean, they come ready every day, but today they were extra ready because they knew we had a tough guy on the hill over there.