LEADING OFF: Astros romp, Trout out, Hoerner in, Cueto back

NFL

Houston Astros’ Yordan Alvarez (44) watches his home run against the Oakland Athletics during the second inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 9, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

HOUSTON HAMMERS

Rookie Yordan Alvarez and the Houston Astros have set a franchise record by totaling 36 runs in their last two games, helped by exceptionally fast starts.

On Sunday, the AL West leaders built a whopping 13-0 cushion in the first three innings on their way to a 21-1 rout of Seattle — Alvarez had three doubles and a single and drove in six runs.

On Monday night, Alvarez homered in each of the first two innings as Houston rushed to an 11-0 lead. The Astros hit seven homers overall and pounded Oakland 15-0.

The Astros have won five in a row and next take on A’s righty Tanner Roark (9-8, 3.86 ERA). Wade Miley (13-4, 3.35) starts for host Houston.

TROUT OUT

Angels star Mike Trout has undergone a cryoablation procedure to alleviate pain in his right foot. Manager Brad Ausmus described the procedure as relatively minor and said the slugging outfielder could return later this series against Cleveland.

Trout has been bothered by nerve pain in his foot for several weeks, but has largely played through it. The cryoablation procedure uses extreme cold to essentially deaden the tissue around the irritated nerve.

Trout is batting .291 with an AL-leading 45 homers and 104 RBIs. His .438 on-base percentage leads the majors.

NICE START

Touted prospect Nico Hoerner had three hits and four RBIs in his big league debut, helping the Cubs increase their lead for the second NL wild-card spot.

Hoerner also made some nice plays at shortstop Monday night as Chicago beat San Diego 10-2 to snap a three-game losing streak. The Cubs lead Milwaukee by two games.

The 22-year-old Hoerner, the Cubs’ first-round draft pick out of Stanford in 2018, was promoted from Double-A Tennessee earlier in the day because All-Star shortstop Javier Báez and Addison Russell are sidelined by injuries.

WELCOME BACK

Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto makes his season debut after recovering from Tommy John surgery. The two-time All-Star hasn’t pitched in a major league game since July 28, 2018. He starts at home against Pittsburgh.

CLOCKED

Big league bullpens are full this month, boosted by September call-ups, and a plethora of pitching changes is contributing to longer and longer games.

The Brewers beat Miami 8-3 Monday night in a matchup that took 4 hours, 8 minutes. The game featured 15 pitchers who combined for 14 walks.

On Sunday, the Phillies topped the Mets 10-7 in 4:29 — one minute from matching the longest nine-inning NL game. Each team used eight pitchers and the clubs used up all 16 dozen baseballs that were prepped pregame, forcing another couple dozen to be rubbed up and put in play.

MATCHED UP

The Braves have won 90 games this year, matching their total from last season when they took the NL East. At 90-55, they lead the division by 9 1/2 games over Washington.

“It’s a very good number, that’s for sure,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We’ve got a lot of baseball to play, so hopefully we get a lot more.”

Lefty Max Fried (16-4, 3.86 ERA) tries to add to Atlanta’s total when he starts at Philadelphia against Jason Vargas (6-7, 4.27).

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