WASHINGTON (AP) — Jose Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, and Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel also went deep and the Houston Astros extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
Houston manager Dusty Baker, who led Washington to consecutive NL East titles in 2016 and ‘17, won in his first game back at Nationals Park since he was fired after two seasons.
Framber Valdez (2-2) allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings to earn his first victory since April 7 and help extend the Astros’ pitching dominance. Houston has allowed just 12 runs during its streak with an 0.91 ERA in that stretch.
Houston staked Valdez to a 5-0 lead before he threw a pitch, its largest first-inning outburst since scoring six times at Seattle last July 26.
“They were attacking early and we hadn’t jumped anybody early like that in a while,” said Baker, who passed Leo Durocher for sole possession of 10th on the career managerial victories list with 2,009. “It feels good to get Framber a lead. Boy, that was some first inning.”
Washington has lost seven of its last nine and is 4-14 at home. Its 11-23 record after 34 games is its worst since opening 9-25 in 2007.
Baker was 192-132 in his two seasons in Washington, but was fired after the Nationals lost in the division series both years. He was introduced on the video board about 10 minutes before the first pitch Friday and was cheered by the smattering of early arriving fans.
It was the first meeting that counted between the franchises — who share a spring training facility — since the 2019 World Series. Dave Martinez, Baker’s successor, led the Nationals to their first championship in a series that saw the road team win all seven games.
Houston promptly made itself at home again in the…