As has usually been the case, the Astros piled on with late runs against the hapless Oakland bullpen Tuesday night. The problem was they were behind by five runs at the time and could not generate enough runs before their outs were spent in a 6-4 decision at Minute Maid. The road warriors have been an incredible 29-9 away from home but a more average 23-17 in their own park since Tal's Hill was razed.
Springer: Superman impression
(c) Associated Press
Mike Fiers' string of impressive starts ran out exactly in the sixth inning. Having allowed just one run over the first five frames, Fiers loaded the bases in the sixth and was pulled after 106 pitches for James Hoyt. Ryon Healy, mired in a slump, fouled off three straight Hoyt pitches before launching a grand slam into the right field seats.
That broke open a 1-1 tie and the A's cashed in once more in the eighth off Reymin Guduan when ex-Astro Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis smack consecutive doubles.
When Liam Hendricks came in for the ninth was when those who stayed of the 28,312 Houston fans got to have some fun. Alex Bregman and Jake Marisnick started the inning with singles then still-sizzling George Springer bashed an opposite-field three-run shot. Springer had earlier showed off the glove too with a highlight reel diving stab of a gapper by Jaycob Brugman in the third.
But the Astros weren't done in the ninth just yet. Santiago Casilla entered for Oakland and gave up singles to Jose Altuve (his third hit of the night) and Carlos Correa to put the winning run at the plate with nobody out. That's when Casilla coaxed a pop-up from pinch-hitter Josh Reddick and then caused Evan Gattis to bounce into a double play that ended the game.
Sean Manaea was smacked around for nine hits and three walks in his 5-2/3rd innings of work but gave up just one run as Houston squandered chances to score. The Astros outhit the A's, 14-to-9.
Oakland, on a four-game winning streak, hopes to keep their run going with Wednesday night's 7:10 Central contest next in their sights. Jesse Hahn (3-5) will pitch for the Athletics against young David Paulino (2-0).
In other news, the Astros have said that pitcher Collin McHugh is ready to begin rehab starts in Corpus Christi. He'll be given at least two before he is brought back up to Houston. That will likely be around the All-Star break.
- Bob Hulsey