Astros strike early, cruise past Diamondbacks

A.J. Pollock slides into home Tuesday during Arizona's loss at home to the Astros.

SARAH SACHS/Arizona Diamondbacks

A.J. Pollock slides into home Tuesday during Arizona's loss at home to the Astros.

PHOENIX (AP) — A trip that saw the Houston Astros drop six of the first seven games ended on a much-needed positive note for the AL West leaders.

The Astros had six extra-base hits in the first four innings, building a big enough lead to hold off the Arizona Diamondbacks 9-4 on Tuesday.

The Astros managed only four hits over the last five innings, but one was Max Stassi's solo home run in the ninth.

"We've had a rough week and a rough road trip, and it's nice to end it with a win and get home and get back to sort of how we're playing," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We've led the league in offense in a lot of different categories, so I think today we looked a little bit more like ourselves."

The Astros had scored just five runs in their previous three games, one of those a shutout loss to the Diamondbacks and ace Zack Greinke on Monday.

But Houston jumped to an 8-0 lead in the fourth inning Tuesday.

Despite the quick start on offense, starting pitcher Brad Peacock couldn't get out of the bottom of the fifth, so Francis Martes (5-2) came on and struck out all four batters he faced in 1 1/3 innings for the victory.

Peacock contributed a double that gave the Astros a 7-0 lead after Diamondbacks starter Anthony Banda intentionally walked eighth-place hitter Jake Marisnick to put runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the third.

The Astros scored five runs off Banda in the second inning on three doubles, a triple, a single and a wild pitch. Four runs came with two outs, as George Springer's double drove in Marisnick and Stassi, and Alex Bregman tripled into the right-field corner to drive in Springer.

Springer raised his American League-leading batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs to .462.

Banda (1-3) threw a wild pitch and Bregman raced home with the final run of the inning. Stassi, called up from the minors Monday when catcher Brian McCann was placed on the disabled list, recorded his first hits and runs batted in of the season.

"We know we're a good offense, we just wanted to put together back-to-back-to-back (hits) and we did that. That's one of the things we've done a lot this year," Bregman said. "When we put together quality ABs like that we're a tough offense to stop."

Yuli Gurriel hit the Astros' second triple of the game in the fourth, driving in Jose Altuve. It was Gurriel's first career triple.

Peacock had a no-hitter through three but only lasted 4 2/3 innings, finishing with nine strikeouts and a walk. Banda went four innings and was charged with eight runs and nine hits with four strikeouts and three walks.

"I'm not taking anything away from them. It's just a matter of hitting spots and establishing the inside of the plate like I wanted to," Banda said. "It's a matter of missing spots and not executing pitches."

Jake Lamb doubled in two runs in the fourth, and Peacock walked Brandon Drury with the bases loaded and one out to force in a third run. But Peacock struck out Chris Herrmann and pinch hitter Gregor Blanco to end the threat.

Paul Goldschmidt's run-scoring double made it 8-4 in the fifth, and Peacock was done. Martes got out of the inning and was one of four Astros relievers who shut out the Diamondbacks for four innings.