HOUSTON (AP) — Max Stassi hit a three-run homer, Charlie Morton continued his hot start to the season and the defending champion Houston Astros beat the San Diego Padres 4-1 on Sunday to win the three-game series.
Stassi’s first home run of the year bounced off the facade behind left field, scoring Josh Reddick and Marwin Gonzalez, who led off the fifth inning with singles.
Reddick later added a solo home run, also off of Padres starter Tyson Ross (1-1), to push Houston’s lead back to three runs after San Diego scored in the sixth.
Austin Hedges grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Chase Headley for San Diego. Headley advanced to second on an error by Houston third baseman Alex Bregman.
Morton (2-0) allowed four hits and three walks for one unearned run while striking out seven in six innings. It was a nearly identical performance to his season debut, when he allowed three hits, two walks and no runs while striking out six in a 6-1 win over Baltimore. The right-hander got the final 12 outs in Game 7 of the World Series against the Dodgers to help secure Houston’s first championship.
Ross allowed four runs on six hits while striking out seven in six innings.
The Astros entered Sunday with just 10 hits in the first two games against San Diego, all singles.
Houston found a way to warm up the bats in what was the coldest first pitch in a regular-season game in Minute Maid Park history. The 52-degree temperature over the opened roof topped the previous coldest first pitch of 57 degrees, on April 8, 2007.
Brad Peacock pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his first save of the season. Houston’s bullpen allowed just one base runner after Morton left the game after the sixth. Will Harris allowed a walk in the seventh inning, and Joe Smith and Peacock retired all three batters they faced.
Padres: Reliever Kirby Yates will likely avoid the disabled list despite leaving Saturday night’s game with a right ankle injury after throwing just one pitch. As the Padres’ primary setup man, he has yet to allow a run in four appearances over 3 2/3 innings, striking out five.
Astros: 1B Yuli Gurriel, on the disabled list after breaking his hand in February, had a double on Sunday in his rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Corpus Christi. After getting an off day on Saturday, Gurriel will play the next two games for Corpus Christi.
Padres: Clayton Richard (0-1, 4.50 ERA) will seek redemption in the first half of a two-game road trip Monday against Colorado. Richard was tagged for five runs on eight hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss to the Rockies last Wednesday.
Astros: Justin Verlander (1-0, 2.31) will start Monday for the opener of a three-game series in Minnesota. Verlander has allowed just three earned runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out 14 in 11 2/3 innings across his first two starts this season.
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