Trey Mancini hit two homers, including his first career grand slam, and had five runs, leading the Houston Astros over the Cleveland Guardians 9-3 on Friday night.
Astros manager Dusty Baker tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the game. Baker held his usual pregame availability with the media approximately two hours before the 7:10 p.m. first pitch.
Baker, 73, is in his third season as Houston manager. Bench coach Joe Espada replaced Baker against Cleveland.
Mancini, acquired from Baltimore on Monday to bolster Houston’s already dynamic roster, hit a solo homer in the second and capped the Astros’ five-point third with a blast that went over the wall 19 feet into left field and landed in the porch of the circuit. .
“It took me a long time,” Mancini said of his grand slam. “Finally got one.”
Mancini, starting at DH Friday, hit three home runs in four games with Houston. The Astros acquired him in a three-team trade that also included Tampa Bay.
Mancini missed the 2020 season while battling stage 3 colon cancer. He returned to the field last season and was named the AL Player of the Year. Mancini has hit .268 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs with Baltimore this season.
Mancini said he spent the first day with the Astros learning the names of his new teammates and felt more settled.
“From the second I was traded here, I just wanted to make a positive impact every time I was there,” he said. “I hope I can continue.”
Yordan Álvarez played his 73rd inning of the season — good for third place in the AL — with a third-inning single that gave Houston a 2-1 lead. Jose Altuve had three hits and an RBI.
Framber Valdez (10-4) gave up a solo homer to Amed Rosario in the first. The southpaw held Cleveland in check until the seventh when Luke Maile and Myles Straw made runs.
Valdez was taken out after walking rookie Will Benson to load the bases with one out. Seth Martinez retired Rosario on a popup and knocked out pinch hitter Nolan Jones. Valdez allowed three runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
Houston has won seven straight at Progressive Field and beat Cleveland in the first two games of this series 15-3.
Mancini and the Astros ruined the major league debut of Cleveland right-hander Hunter Gaddis (0-1), who was charged with eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. He retired the team in order in the first before the Houston offense took control.
Gaddis became the 13th Cleveland player to make his major league debut this season. He was 5-3 with a 4.07 ERA in 17 games with Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. Cleveland selected Gaddis, 24, in the fifth round of the 2019 draft.
The home run with a Mancini out in second tied the game. Houston chained three singles and a walk before Mancini’s grand slam in the third which was held at 3-1.
“I had never had three guys waiting for me on base before, so it was a really good feeling,” he said.
Cleveland rookie Steven Kwan went 0 for 2, breaking his 18-game hitting streak. Kwan was taken out of the game in the fourth inning after fouling his leg in the first.
THINK OF DUST
Espada said no one else with the Astros had been affected by COVID-19 as of Friday’s game.
Guardians manager Terry Francona sent his best wishes to Baker.
“You know, we didn’t know until round five,” he said. “I knew Dusty wasn’t there. I hope he is well. I mean, man, he’s near and dear to everyone. He’s so much about what’s good about baseball. I hope he just feels like he has the flu or an allergy and is back because we care.
Gaddis was told around 10 p.m. Thursday that he would be launching in the big leagues in less than 24 hours.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I passed out. I don’t remember the conversations I had, mostly. I was rushing around, trying to put everything together. It was amazing, I can tell you.
Astros: Baker said before the game that tests on OF Aledmys Diaz’s left ring finger showed no fracture. Diaz, injured after colliding with centre-back Jake Meyers on a fly ball on Thursday night, was out of the line-up. … OF Kyle Tucker, missed his second straight game due to illness.
Goaltenders: RHP Aaron Civale (sprained right wrist) allowed two runs (one earned) over four innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Columbus on Friday. He has been on the 15-day injured list since July 14.
Astros: RHP Luis Garcia (8-7, 3.81 ERA) earned the loss to Cleveland on May 23, allowing four runs — two earned — in five innings.
Goalies: RHP Cal Quantrill (7-5, 4.08 ERA) lost to the Astros in Houston on May 25. He allowed two runs, six hits and four walks in six innings.