HOUSTON (AP) — Kyle Tucker became just the 12th player to triple twice in an inning, driving in runs with each in an eight-run sixth as the AL West-leading Houston Astros routed the San Diego Padres 12-2 on Sunday.
Tucker became the first Houston player to triple twice in an inning, getting hits off Tim Hill and Rich Hill. He is the first major leaguer to do it since Colorado’s Cory Sullivan on April 9, 2006, at San Diego, and the second since Gil Coan of the Washington Senators on April 21, 1951.
“I think having the opportunity to bat twice in the same inning is nice just with all the other guys putting together quality at bats and having the opportunity to get back up,” Tucker said. “Then, putting the ball in play and doing the most with it.”
Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs. Houston has won five of six and opened a 2 1/2-game AL West lead over Seattle, which lost to Tampa Bay 6-3. The defending champion Astros are a season-high 20 games over .500 at 82-62.
“It’s time to capitalize,” Chas McCormick said. “I feel like we’ve been playing some pretty good ball. We’re excited. We’re as healthy as we can be right now, and if we get the ball rolling, we can take this division. It’s going to come down to the end, so we just have to make sure we win every game possible.”
José Abreu and Yainer Diaz hit RBI singles, Altuve was hit by a pitch, catcher Luis Campusano made a run-scoring error and Yordan Alvarez and Alex Bregman hit sacrifice flies as the Astros sent 12 batters to the plate.
Houston has scored at least six runs in each of its last 19 wins.
“We’re just confident right now,” McCormick said. “Offensively, we know we can do a good job up there. We have a mix of veterans and some young guys. A lot of veterans control the plate really well. It’s a tough lineup to get through, all nine of us. We definitely feel really good up there.”
Tucker also walked in the fourth, stole two bases and then scored on an error by third baseman Eguy Rosario.
Houston won its first home series since taking two of three from the Angels from Aug. 11-13.
“We got a lot of hits in that one inning,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “Any time you can put up a crooked number, especially like a snowman eight spot, that was huge for us. We needed this game at home. I think this is the first series we have won at home in a long time.”
Altuve followed Campusano’s run-scoring passed ball with a two-run homer in a three-run third.
J.P. France (11-5) allowed one run, four hits and five walks in six innings, his eighth time in 10 appearances giving up two runs or fewer.
“They have a patient lineup and make you put the ball in zone,” France said. “I can’t brag about the defense behind me enough. … All of that’s what was able to let me go six.”
Matt Carpenter and Rosario hit solo home runs for San Diego, which lost for the third time in its last four games. The Padres also committed four errors.
“A lot of bad stuff for us,” San Diego manager Bob Melvin said. “Obviously, defensively wasn’t great. We left some runners on early in the game when it could have been impactful, and then it got away from us, so not our finest moment.”
Matt Waldron (0-3) yielded four runs and four hits in five innings.
Astros: RHP Ryne Stanek (right ankle sprain) played catch and was feeling better, Baker said.
Padres: RHP Pedro Avila (1-2, 2.19 ERA) will start Monday in the first of a three-game series at the Dodgers, who will start LHP Clayton Kershaw (12-4, 2.61 ERA). Avila earned his first win in his last start, tossing 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Phillies on Tuesday.
Astros: LHP Framber Valdez (11-9, 3.30 ERA) will start Monday in the opener of a three-game series against the Athletics at home. Valdez has won two straight starts and yielded one run in seven innings in his last outing against the Rangers on Tuesday.