Castro's homer in 10th gives Astros 3-2 win over Dodgers
HOUSTON (AP) Star rookie Carlos Correa and the AL West-leading Houston Astros were feeling pretty confident on Sunday after sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers, who lead the NL West.
''We are a first-place team and the atmosphere here (is) we are the best team in baseball,'' Correa said.
Jason Castro's solo homer in the 10th inning lifted the Astros to a 3-2 victory that completed the sweep on Sunday.
The Astros are four games ahead of the Texas Rangers in the division after going 7-3 during this homestand.
There was one out in the 10th when Castro connected off Chris Hatcher (1-5), launching a 96 mph fastball into the first row of the seats in left field. The play was reviewed and confirmed.
It was their fourth last at-bat win in the last eight games and their third game with extra innings in that span.
''We've been in so many of them this year it's just that mentality that we're comfortable playing from behind late,'' Castro said. ''I think that's an attribute that's going to serve us well going forward in the playoffs ... we don't give up.''
Kenley Jansen, who had converted 17 straight save opportunities, allowed a leadoff single to Correa in the ninth before the Astros tied it on a two-out RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez.
''Any time you've got to go through the middle of our order, I've got a ton of confidence that we're going to put something together that gives us a chance,'' manager A.J. Hinch said.
Luke Gregerson (7-2) allowed one hit in a scoreless 10th for the win.
The Dodgers were swept by the Astros for the first time since May of 2008 and have dropped a season-high five straight overall. It was a series that started with Houston's Mike Fiers throwing a no-hitter in a 3-0 win on Friday.
Clayton Kershaw allowed seven hits and one run with 10 strikeouts in eight innings for his 10th double-digit strikeout game this season. He is 5-0 in his last nine starts and hasn't lost since June 27.
''I hope we're panicking a little bit,'' Kershaw said. ''I think panic's a good thing to a certain extent. It's obvious we've got five weeks or whatever it is, too. So, there's a sense of urgency. Maybe that's better to say than panic. I feel like we've got to start playing like that. Not to say we haven't, but it's definitely time to start thinking that way.''
Chase Utley doubled and scored in the first for the Dodgers. A.J. Ellis did the same in the fifth to make it 2-0.
Jose Altuve had three hits and Correa had an RBI single that cut it to 2-1 in the sixth.
Houston rookie Lance McCullers allowed eight hits and two runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings. McCullers, who was recalled from Double-A Corpus Christi for the start, pitched well but was done in by three wild pitches.
Utley doubled with one out in the first inning and took third on a wild pitch. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Justin Turner to make it 1-0.
A double by Ellis came with one out in the fifth inning and two wild pitches by McCullers with two outs allowed him to score and extend the lead to 2-0.
The Astros didn't have more than one hit in an inning until the sixth, when Altuve doubled with one out before a single by Carlos Gomez. Correa's groundball single, which bounced off Kershaw's left foot, scored Altuve to cut the lead to 2-1.
Gomez reached third on a sacrifice fly before ending the inning when he was caught trying to steal home. The Astros challenged the call but it was confirmed.
Yasiel Puig was ejected for arguing with the umpire after he struck out looking for the second out of the ninth inning.
Astros: OF George Springer (broken right wrist) is expected to take batting practice Monday or Tuesday for the first time since he was injured. Springer has been on the disabled list since July 2 and resumed baseball activities Aug. 14. ... 3B Jed Lowrie left the game in the seventh inning with a bruised right thumb.
Dodgers: The Dodgers are off on Monday before beginning a series at Cincinnati on Tuesday, when left-hander Alex Wood (8-8, 3.79) opposes Cincinnati's John Lamb (0-1, 6.35). Wood allowed five hits and three runs for the loss in his last start.
Astros: Scott Feldman (5-5, 4.05) opposes New York's Nathan Eovaldi (13-2, 4.24) when Houston opens a series with the Yankees. Feldman is 1-1 with a 2.87 ERA in six starts since a stint on the disabled list after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.