(c) Associated Press
The Astros got back in the win column Friday night with a 9-4 trouncing of the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park. The 'Stros had been averaging only three runs per game at home this season prior to the offensive explosion led by Evan Gattis and Yulieski Gurriel. Both players enjoyed a three-hit night while driving in two runs apiece.
Charlie Morton started for the Astros and got roughed up early. In the first inning Morton hit Matt Joyce on the foot with a pitch and gave up a single to Jed Lowrie. Khris Davis followed with a home run to give the A's a quick 3-0 lead.
But the Astros matched Oakland's first inning production with three runs off Jharel Cotton in the bottom half. A walk and a catcher's interference preceded RBI hits by Carlos Beltran, Gattis, and Gurriel.
Davis added a solo shot off Morton in the third to put Oakland back in front but the Astros' starter went into shutout mode for the next four innings. Morton ended up striking out a career-high 12 batters in seven innings of work on the way to his second win of the season.
George Springer, returning from a sore hamstring, drove in the tying run in the fourth with an infield hit that forced him to put that hammy to the test. The muscle responded with flying colors and Springer enjoyed a 2-for-4 night that also included a walk and a pair of runs scored.
Gattis and Gurriel were in the middle of a two-run rally in the fifth that put Houston ahead to stay. Gurriel added a homer in the seventh and Carlos Correa's two-run double in the eighth was icing on the cake.
Luke Gregerson and Ken Giles threw one scoreless inning apiece to close out the victory and end a two-game skid for the first-place 'Stros.
Joe Musgrove takes the hill Saturday at 6:10 against Andrew Triggs as the Astros try to extend their winning streak over Oakland to ten games (dating back to last season).
- Greg Thurston