Yanier Diaz homers in a second straight game, powers the Astros past the Cardinals 8-5

HOUSTON — Yainer Diaz homered in a second straight game to lead the Houston Astros to an 8-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday night.

Playing without star right fielder Kyle Tucker, the Astros got a three-run homer from Diaz in the third inning as they took the first two games of a three-game set with the Cardinals. Diaz hit a go-ahead two-run homer in Monday’s 7-4 win.

“Every single player wants to contribute to their team, and every player wants to contribute to a win,” Diaz said. “So being part of that feels great.”

Tucker, who left Monday’s game after hitting a foul ball off his right shin, was diagnosed with a contusion and sat out Tuesday night. He is tied for second in the majors with 19 homers.

“Everybody was contributing,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “It’s great to see. Now we’ve got to keep that on consistently. We’re staying on the ball and not trying to do too much. That’s the kind of approach I want to see out of our guys.”

Houston scored six runs off Cardinals starter Andre Pallante (1-2). He allowed six hits and walked three in three innings.

“Overall, he just didn’t get ahead,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “He got those guys into better counts, and that’s a group that knows what they’re doing. They had a good approach against him as well, and that put us in a hole.”

Astros starter Spencer Arrighetti allowed three hits and one run in three innings. He was evaluated by trainers in the second after he was struck in the left leg by a 103.8 mph comebacker. He threw 64 pitches and left the game after the third with a left calf contusion.

“It definitely shocked me a little bit when it hit me,” Arrighetti said. “I was able to get my feet back under me for a second. Then we had a long inning and it got tighter so it wasn’t worth pushing it, but I think I’ll be just fine.”

Astros reliever Tayler Scott (2-2) allowed three hits and one run in two innings. Ryan Pressly pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save of the season.

The Cardinals cut into Houston’s lead with solo homers from Masyn Winn in the sixth inning and Nolan Gorman in the seventh. Gorman’s homer appeared to graze off the glove of a leaping Mauricio Dubón after a fan bumped into the Astros right fielder.

Alec Burleson homered for St. Louis in the first.

The Astros improved to 3-1 in June but remain six games under .500 (28-34). The Cardinals fell to 3-5 on a nine-game trip that wraps up Wednesday.

“We’ve got to play better, defensively,” Marmol said. “Sometimes you’re seeing guys forcing an error or making a throw where they don’t need to make a throw. We’ve got to take care of the baseball. Right now, we’re giving several outs away per game.”


Houston acquired minor league RHP Nick Hernandez from the San Diego Padres for cash on Tuesday. Hernandez, 29, had a 1.90 ERA in 17 appearances this season for Triple-A El Paso. He appeared in two games for the Padres last season, allowing four runs in three innings.


The game was delayed seven minutes in the sixth inning due to a non-uniformed staff member requiring medical attention in the Astros dugout, the team said.


Cardinals: RHP Keynan Middleton will undergo season-ending surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his right arm, Marmol said. Middleton, who signed with the Cardinals in the offseason, felt discomfort in his forearm during spring training and started the year on the injured list.

Astros: RHP Cristian Javier is expected to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on Thursday, the Athletic reported. Javier, 27, is 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA.


RHP Miles Mikolas (3-6, 5.54 ERA) will start the series finale for the Cardinals on Wednesday. Astros RHP Ronel Blanco (5-1, 2.44) will try to bounce back from his first loss of the season in his last outing, against Minnesota.


AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

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