• Brian L. Barefield

Repeat Performance Javier dominates Diamondbacks to get his first Major League win.

PHOENIX, AZ- On Tuesday night the Houston Astros (6-4) defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks (3-8) by a score of 8-2. Some will look at the score and think it was a blowout victory by the Astros, but there was a lot of details and improvements by Houston that is starting to show. They are getting that three consecutive 100-plus win seasons glow about them again.

Righthanded pitcher Cristian Javier (1-0) had another stellar performance on the mound and gained his first win in the big leagues going six innings allowing just one earn run in his second Major League start. On last week he shut the Los Angeles Dodgers powerful hitting lineup down but was unable to secure the win after the Astros lost in extra innings.

“He is strong, very confident, poised in his demeanor and mannerisms on the mound and he acts like a veteran,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker about Javier’s performance.

This is what Houston expected of Javier coming into the season having been named the Astros Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2019 a season in which he had a 1.74 ERA to go along with a career high 170 strikeouts between three levels in the Astros minor league system.

“It feels really good that he has confidence in me,” Javier said about Baker’s willingness to use the 23-year old in the rotation. “It allows me to just focus on my job.”

A couple of All-Stars also made their veteran presence known at the plate early last night to help Javier secure the win. Six-time All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve got the Astros on the board early when he took Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner (0-2) deep in the first inning to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. Houston increased that lead to two runs after 2017 All-Star shortstop Carlos Correa hit a solo shot to left-center field.

Correa has really benefitted from having a veteran manager like Dusty Baker in the dugout and has taken his advice to become one of the hardest outs in MLB. Over the first ten games for the Astros, the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year is hitting .389 with a .700 slugging percentage. He has hit safely in nine out of ten games and credits his aggressiveness early in the count for his success.

“I think I’m getting a better understanding of what I’m good at and the pitches I can drive,” Correa said. “I’m trying to get the pitch I want to drive, and if it’s not there, hold off. I want to be aggressive early. Last year and the couple of years before, I felt like I was taking too many strike ones.”

The Astros used a big fifth inning led by George Springer’s two-run double to put the game out of reach giving Houston an 8-1 lead. Springer now has nine RBIs since returning from an off-day given to him last month by Baker to clear his head from early season struggles at the plate.

“You put the runners out there and George seems to get locked in,” said Baker. “How many lead-off hitters do you know that drives in 90 runs? He is hot this road trip, ‘But come on George you can even get hotter.’”

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