Tucker, Urquidy power Astros past Braves as Ozuna hears boos

Sports

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta outfielder Marcell Ozuna was booed by his home fans in his return, Kyle Tucker singled to drive in Yordan Alvarez for the go-ahead run in the eighth and the Houston Astros beat the Braves 5-4 to avoid a three-game sweep on Sunday.

José Urquidy won his 12th game for the AL-leading Astros.

Houston, which began the game with the AL’s best road winning percentage at .585, went 3-4 on its road trip, marking the first time this season the Astros didn’t post a .500 record or better away from home. But they avoided getting swept. The only time they’ve been swept on the road this season came July 25-27 at Oakland.

The Braves started Ozuna in left field, and the embattled left fielder was booed each time he came to the plate after getting charged for DUI early Friday morning.

It was Ozuna’s first appearance on the field since his arrest. He struck out in his only at-bats before getting pulled for pinch-hitter Eddie Rosario in the seventh.

Atlanta is 52-21 since June 1, best in the majors over that span, and it had won 11 of 12.

The Braves went up 2-0 in the first when Dansby Swanson singled and Matt Olson hit his 26th homer, a 432-foot shot to right-center. Olson has 62 RBIs since June 1, most in the NL over that span.

Atlanta starter Charlie Morton allowed two runs and five hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts in six innings. He ran into trouble in the third, loading the bases on a walk to Yuli Gurriel and giving up a two-run single to Alvarez that tied it at 2.

After Alvarez singled to begin the eighth off reliever Dylan Lee (3-1) and Alex Bregman walked, Tucker lined a single into right-center for his team-leading 82nd RBI. The ball was misplayed by right fielder Guillermo Heredia, whose fielding miscue allowed Bregman to reach third and Tucker to get to second on the play.

Jeremy Peña followed with a sacrifice fly, and the Astros led 4-2. A passed ball advanced Tucker to third and Peña stole second before Jackson Stephens struck out Martin Maldonado to end the threat.

Urquidy (12-4), the winning pitcher in both of the Astros’ World Series victories against defending champion Atlanta last year, was charged with gave up two runs and five hits. He walked two and struck out six in seven innings.

Over his last 11 starts, Urquidy is 7-1 with a 2.48 ERA. Houston has won 15 of his last 20 starts.

Houston improved to 33-13 in the day games, best in the majors. The Astros tacked on a run in the ninth off Stephens on Gurriel’s RBI single to make it 5-2.

Rafael Montero faced the minimum in the eighth for Houston, and Ryan Pressly earned a shaky 25th save in 29 chances in the ninth. Pressly gave up Travis d’Arnaud’s RBI triple, and Vaughn Grissom followed with an RBI groundout to make it 5-4.

Morton recorded his fifth double-digit strikeout performance and his second straight.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Alvarez played his first game since leaving Friday in the fifth inning with shortness of breath and went 2 for 5. … Astros 2B Jose Altuve was out of the lineup due to a sore shoulder. Mauricio Dubón took his place and went 2 for 5 with two runs.

NOT CLOSE TO CAPACITY

The Braves announced a crowd of 42,531, their 32nd sellout of the season, but there were thousands of empty seats to watch the two playoff contenders.

UP NEXT

RHP Jake Odorizzi (4-5, 4.15 ERA) will face RHP Roansy Contreras (3-3, 4.02) when the Braves open a three-game series at Pittsburgh. The Astros are off Monday and have yet to announce a starter Tuesday when Houston begins a three-game home series against Minnesota.

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