Five-Run First Topples Gray, A's
Astros Continue To Like Road Sweet Road

Springer: 8th leadoff homer
(c) Associated Press
Maybe the Astros should reconsider that trade for Sonny Gray. The former Oakland ace, the subject of trade rumors to Houston and elsewhere, was pummeled for five first-inning runs on the way to an 8-4 Astros win Tuesday night by the Bay. Francis Martes, while having some shaky moments of his own, notched his second win in as many starts.

George Springer opened the game with his 21st homer, a no-doubter into the left field seats at Coliseum. Later, Brian McCann extended the inning with a ground rule double that hopped over the right field fence. Yuli Gurriel added an RBI double of his own before Alex Bregman singled up the middle to drive in a pair.

That took some of the pressure off Martes who allowed single tallies in the first, third and fourth that drew Oakland within 5-3. the 6-7 righty allowed six hits and three walks over 5-2/3rd innings before giving way to a quartet of relievers.

After Jaycob Brugman (that's not a typo) plated Rajai Davis in the seventh off Michael Feliz to make it close, the Astros applied the boosters to pull away late. Bregman (that's our guy) doubled past Brugman (that's their guy) to lead off the eighth. Two walks and two outs later, Carlos Correa smacked a single against Liam Hendricks to plate two runs. In the ninth, Grandpa Beltran clubbed his 10th homer just for good measure.

The insurance run almost became a necessity in the bottom of the ninth as rookie Dayan Diaz had to wriggle out of danger with a four-run lead.

The Road Warriors upped their mark away from home to 25-8 on the year. Remarkably, this was Houston's first two-game winning streak since they reeled off 11 straight, ending June 6th.

Mike Fiers (4-2), who has become the anchor of the depleted rotation after an early demotion, tosses for the Astros Wednesday night in another 9:05 Central start. Oakland counters with lefty Sean Manaea (6-3) who is 0-1 but has a 1.71 ERA in five appearances against Houston.

After Monday's game, Outfielder Derek Fisher was sent back down to Fresno despite a nice debut. Another player will have to go down when Lance McCullers returns from the Disabled List and is planned to start Saturday in Seattle.

Also the Astros have now seen three players take the lead in July All-Star Game balloting with Springer, Correa and Jose Altuve leading at their positions.

- Bob Hulsey