Evan Gattis has taken plenty of abuse from Astros fans since he came over in a mid-winter trade from Atlanta. Back-to-back golden sombreros in the first week of the season and a batting average that makes Mario Mendoza look like Tony Gwynn will do that for a player the Astros gave up three good prospects to get.
Gattis: Muscles winning double
(c) Associated Press
But the lumbering lumberjack broke out Sunday to lead a sweep of the Oakland A's, 7-6, with four RBIs, including a two-run double in the top of the ninth which must have caused green and gold ulcers to develop all across the Bay Area.
Gattis slapped a two-run single to right in the third to tie up Oakland, 2-2, before Colby Rasmus tacked on a go-ahead run against Drew Pomeranz.
Gattis was back up again with the bases full against Tyler Clippard in the ninth, down by a run, when he launched a 1-2 pitch over Sam Fuld's head in center field for the game-winning double. He swung at a pitch up in his eyes that most batters would foul off if they were lucky to catch up to it at all.
In between the slugger's heroics, Jake Marisnick golfed his second home run of the year, a two-run shot that upped Houston's lead to 5-2 in the fourth. Marisnick scored three times and boosted his batting average to .364.
However, Oakland stormed back to tie in the bottom of the fourth and knocked out Asher Wojciechowski who is having trouble getting through five innings as a starter. Sam Deduno and Tony Sipp combined for four innings of relief before Luke Gregerson got some revenge for Friday night and shut down his ex-teammates in the ninth for his fourth save.
Jose Altuve earned another two-hit afternoon to boost his streak to 29 straight games with a hit against the A's. Houston is now 2-1/2 games in front of Anaheim and four ahead of the rest of the division - a place few would have foresaw when the season began.
Winners of eight of their last 10 and 7-2 this season on the road, the Astros jet south to San Diego for an old school three-game set against the 11-9 Padres beginning Monday at 9:10 Central. Collin McHugh (3-0) will square off against James Shields (2-0) at Petco Park. The typically frugal Padres went all-in on payroll spending this winter, adding monster contracts like Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel, the Upton Brothers and Shields. The Pads have lost four of their last five, however, and enter this series in third place in the National League West.