You don't win more than 2,100 games being negative.
“My thought process was double play or something good or somebody pull a play or whatever,” Baker said. "If you think, ‘Here we go again,’ it’s going to go again.”
This time, it went Houston's way.
Jose Abreu homered and drove in three runs, rookie J.P. France stayed around until the seventh inning and Houston’s tired bullpen held on as the Astros snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-4 win over the Guardians on Saturday night.
Abreu hit a two-run homer in the first inning off Triston McKenzie (0-1) and added a huge insurance run with an RBI single in the ninth as the Astros evened the series after losing in 14 innings on Friday,
Cleveland, which came back five times to win the series opener, scored one in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate before closer Ryan Pressly struck out Will Brennan for his 12th save in 14 chances.
“That run in the ninth was huge," Baker said. "I was glad we stopped the bleeding and the losing streak and hopefully we can win the series.”
After a four-hour marathon won 10-9 by Cleveland, the teams got nine innings completed in a respectable 2:52.
France (2-1) walked six in 6 2/3 innings, but was helped by three double plays. He gave up three runs and seven hits.
France’s second straight solid outing - he went a season-high seven innings against the Los Angeles Angels in his previous start - allowed Baker to rest many of his relievers after using six on Friday.
“I knew I had to go out there and just grind, and that’s what I did,” said France. “My pitches weren’t where they usually are, but I had an awesome defense behind me, double plays, which I’m not really used to.”
Abreu, who has always hit well in Cleveland, connected in Houston’s three-run first off McKenzie, who was making just his second start after missing two months with a shoulder strain. McKenzie was lifted after five innings and 92 pitches.
Abreu also homered on Friday and is beginning to heat up after a slow start.
“Like I always say, it starts with one," said Baker. "He had a good day yesterday and now it’s two and hopefully about 18 more, especially without (Yordan) Alvarez not here.”
The Astros placed Alvarez, who leads the majors with 55 RBIs, on the 10-day injured list with right oblique discomfort on Friday.
Down 5-1, the Guardians, who never led Friday's game until Brennan's walk-off double in the 14th, made things interesting with a pair of runs in the seventh.
José Ramírez's RBI single chased France, and Josh Naylor's run-scoring single off reliever Bryan Abreu made it 5-3 before the right-hander struck out pinch-hitter Josh Bell with runners at second and third.
Cleveland put the first two on in the ninth with a single and error, but Pressly struck out Ramírez, gave up a sacrifice fly and then whiffed Brennan.
“That’s a tough way to play,” said Guardians manager Terry Francona. "You’re down three right off the get-go. But we fought, we battled. We gave ourselves a chance. You get the tying run to the plate, man, you’ve got a chance, especially with who’s coming up to hit.”
Abreu appears to be emerging from an extended power outage. Houston slugger's, who didn't hit his first homer of the season until May 28, drove a 2-2 pitch from McKenzie over the wall in left-center for his third homer.
Abreu has 29 homers and 91 RBIs in 152 career games against Cleveland.
The Guardians made history with their litany of late-game rallies Friday. They scored the tying or go-ahead run in the seventh, ninth, 12th, 13th and 14th innings.
According to OptaSTATS, Cleveland is the first team in the modern era to erase a deficit in five separate innings after the seventh.
The Astros stole six bases for the first time since Aug. 5, 2013 against Boston. Five of the steals came with Cleveland's Mike Zunino behind the plate, but Baker said it was more what Houston was seeing from the Guardians pitchers.
Astros: RHP Ryne Stanek was placed on the bereavement/family medical emergency list shortly before the game. Houston didn't have time to fill the roster spot before game time.
Guardians: All-Star 2B Andrés Giménez was not in the starting lineup after twisting his arm during Friday's game. He came in as a pinch hitter.
With rain in Sunday's forecast, the Guardians moved the start of series finale up an hour to 12:40 p.m. Astros RHP Brandon Bielak (3-2, 3.35 ERA) will face Cleveland's Shane Bieber (4-3, 3.57).
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