CLEVELAND (AP)Cal Quantrill tossed six scoreless innings and Amed Rosario had a two-run single, lifting the Cleveland Guardians to a 4-1 victory over the AL West-leading Houston Astros on Saturday night.
All-Star Jose Ramirez added two hits and an RBI, and Andres Gimenez and Myles Straw had two hits apiece. The Guardians pulled within 1 1/2 games of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central with the combined six-hitter.
Quantrill (8-5) struck out four with a lone walk, extending his winning streak to four and remaining undefeated at Progressive Field. The right-hander is 11-0 in 36 career games at the ballpark, including 26 starts for Cleveland.
”Quantrill was right at the top of his game,” Houston bench coach Joe Espada said. ”He did a really good job keeping us off-balance. He got the cutter going, the changeup, the sinker. We just ran into a pitcher executing his pitches.”
The Guardians snapped a seven-game home losing streak to the Astros, beating them for the first time in Cleveland since July 31, 2019. Houston had won the first two games of the series by a combined 15-3 score.
”Regardless of the last couple days, we needed to remind ourselves that we’re a good team and we want to make the playoffs,” Quantrill said. ”Today, I made better decisions and decided if I’m going to get beat, I was going to get beat on my best pitches.”
Houston only advanced one runner past second base in the first eight innings against Quantrill, Trevor Stephan and James Karinchak. Aledmys Diaz’s second double of the game drove in Alex Bregman in the ninth against Emmanuel Clase.
The Astros have the second-best record in the AL – one game behind the Yankees – and are off to a franchise-best 70-39 start. Houston owns the top road record in the AL at 36-22 and leads the West by 11 1/2 games.
Cleveland took a 4-0 lead with three runs in the second off Luis Garcia (8-8), highlighted by Rosario’s liner to center that drove in Straw and Gimenez. Ramirez doubled home Rosario in the first for his 87th RBI.
”I try to pay attention to all the small things because you have to prepare for everything,” said Rosario, who also made three stellar plays at shortstop. ”The energy of both (hits and defense) can do so much to help the team.”
Espada continued to fill in for Astros manager Dusty Baker, who tested positive for COVID-19 prior to Friday night’s game. No other member of their traveling party has been affected by the virus.
Right-hander Garcia worked six innings, giving up four runs and nine hits in losing his third consecutive start.
”We strung some hits together against a really good pitcher tonight,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said.
Jake Meyers and Diaz each had two hits, and Bregman and Christian Vazquez had one apiece for Houston.
Guardians DH Franmil Reyes, who began the season as their cleanup hitter, was designated for assignment and removed from the 40-man roster.
The 27-year-old had been optioned to Triple-A Columbus after batting .213 with nine homers and 104 strikeouts in 263 at-bats. He went 1 for 11 in three games with the Clippers.
A second opening day starter for Cleveland, 1B Bobby Bradley, was released from Columbus in a concurrent move.
Astros: OF Kyle Tucker (illness) was sidelined for his third straight game after becoming sick Thursday upon arrival at the ballpark. Tucker was in the original lineup before being scratched two hours before the first pitch.
Guardians: OF Steven Kwan (left foot bruise) did not play after fouling a ball off his foot in the first inning Friday. The rookie exited the game in the fourth, ending the longest active hitting streak in the majors at 18 games.
Astros: RHP Christian Javier (6-7, 3.24 ERA) is on a five-start winless streak, posting an 0-4 record with a 5.11 ERA since beating the Los Angeles Angels on July 1.
Guardians: RHP Triston McKenzie (7-8, 3.38 ERA) has lost his last two starts, allowing four earned runs against both Boston on July 28 and Arizona on Aug. 2.
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