Kyle Tucker homers as the Astros beat the Rockies 8-2 in Mexico City

Kyle Tucker homers as the Astros beat the Rockies 8-2 in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Kyle Tucker and the Houston Astros had a very successful stay in Mexico City.

Tucker, Jose Altuve and Jeremy Peña each hit a solo homer, helping Framber Valdez and the Astros beat the Colorado Rockies 8-2 on Sunday.

Tucker and Yainer Diaz each drove in two runs as Houston swept the two-game series at Alfredo Harp Helú Stadium.

“The plan was to use the series as a springboard looking forward,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “We want this series to be like a new beginning for us. We need to have more urgency."

Valdez (1-0) pitched five innings of two-run ball in his first big league start since April 2. The left-hander allowed five hits, struck out six and walked none.

“He threw the ball well the first couple of innings," Espada said. "Command was not there, but he settled in the third and he gave us five innings. It was encouraging to see the way he threw the ball.”

Valdez had been sidelined by elbow inflammation, one of several pitching injuries that had contributed to Houston’s 9-19 start. Justin Verlander is back, but the Astros are awaiting the return of José Urquidy, Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers Jr. at some point this season.

"When the rotation is healthy, we have proved that we can do great things in the postseason,” Espada said.

Elias Díaz had two hits for Colorado, and Sean Bouchard and Jacob Stallings each drove in a run. Austin Gomber (0-2) was charged with four runs and six hits in seven innings.

The Rockies have dropped 11 of 14 games.

“We have not played our best baseball and our record is indicative of that, but the players come with energy to compete. There has not been one sign of them not being happy,” manager Bud Black said. “We will continue to play hard."

Houston had lost five in a row before arriving in Mexico City, scoring a total of 10 runs during the slide. But it fared much better at Alfredo Harp Helu, with its elevation of 7,349 feet.

Yordan Alvarez hit two homers and Tucker also went deep during Saturday’s 12-4 victory.

Tucker connected in the first inning in the finale of the two-game set. Altuve went deep in the third, and Peña hit his third homer in the fourth.

It was Houston’s second regular-season visit to Mexico. It swept two games in Monterrey against the Angels in May 2019.

The Astros also played exhibition games in Mexico against the Padres in 2016 and Marlins in 2004.

The Rockies also had played in Mexico before. They beat San Diego in Monterrey in their 1999 season opener.

Colorado pushed across two runs in the second, tying it at 2. Bouchard singled home Elias Díaz, and Stallings had a sacrifice fly.

Altuve responded with his seventh homer on a drive to left.

Houston broke it open with four runs in the eighth. Alex Bregman hit an RBI single, and Yainer Diaz added a two-run double.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Hunter Brown (0-4, 9.68 ERA) is scheduled to start Tuesday night against Cleveland. Carlos Carrasco (1-2, 4.63 ERA) pitches for the Guardians.

Rockies: RHP Ryan Feltner (1-2, 5.68 ERA) will start the series opener against the Marlins on Tuesday in Miami.

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