Rasmus drives in 3, Astros beat Padres 9-4 for 4th straight
SAN DIEGO (AP) The surprising Houston Astros continued their winning ways thanks to a resilient lineup and some timely home runs.
Colby Rasmus homered and drove in three runs as the Astros beat the San Diego Padres 9-4 Monday night for their fourth straight victory.
Jed Lowrie and Jason Castro also homered for the AL West leaders, who have won nine of 10. Jose Altuve had two hits and an RBI double against San Diego ace James Shields in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
''It was good to see the resiliency of our ballclub,'' Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. ''We continue to answer back after we get runs scored upon us, which is a good thing to see.''
Pat Neshek (1-0) retired the only two hitters he faced to earn the win.
''I think if you play the game as well as we have, you expect to win,'' said Lowrie, who left in the eighth inning after injuring his right thumb on a slide.
The game was tied at 4 in the eighth before Joaquin Benoit (3-1) yielded three runs as Houston took the lead for good. Rasmus and Chris Carter each drove home a run in the inning.
''You can't let off the gas pedal in games like this,'' Hinch said.
Cory Mazzoni made his major league debut in the ninth for the Padres and gave up a two-run homer to Rasmus.
''Rasmus had the separation home run, and that's sort of who we are,'' Hinch said. ''We lay in the weeds and then we do it. It's an interesting offense.''
Shields tied his season high with 12 strikeouts but allowed three runs - one earned - over six innings. The Padres have lost five of six.
''He battled all night,'' manager Bud Black said. ''His stuff was good and he pitched well. He got the changeup up for Lowrie for the home run. But I like the way we came back. We were down 3-0 and tied it and they went ahead 4-3 and we came back.''
Houston starter Collin McHugh gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings.
''I wouldn't have guessed it would be a 9-4 game the way the starting pitchers were going,'' Hinch said. ''What started out as a pitchers' duel ended up with a lot of offense.''
San Diego's Yangervis Solarte had three hits and drove in two runs. He was acquired by Hinch, a former Padres executive, in a 2014 trade with the New York Yankees for third baseman Chase Headley.
Castro hit his second homer of the season leading off the seventh against Brandon Maurer to break a 3-all tie.
Lowrie homered into the porch in right field against Shields in the fourth for a 1-0 Houston lead.
Astros: Lowrie will return to Houston on Tuesday and have an MRI. ''It's swollen. It doesn't feel good,'' he said.
Padres: RHP Shawn Kelley (strained left calf) threw a 30-pitch batting practice session. Kelley was placed on the 15-day disabled list last week.
Astros: Roberto Hernandez (0-2, 3.57 ERA) looks for his first win with Houston after signing a minor league contract and winning a spot in the rotation during spring training.
Padres: Tyson Ross (1-1, 3.97) will try to rebound from a loss at Colorado, where he gave up two runs in five innings.