Houston Astros outslug Oakland A's

By MoiseKapenda Bower, The Sports Xchange  |  June 29, 2017 at 12:05 PM
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HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder George Springer has all but clinched a position representing the American League in the All-Star Game next month in Miami, with his performance on Wednesday night providing another example of why he is a lock.

Springer and Jose Altuve reached base four times apiece, and the Houston Astros outslugged the Oakland Athletics 11-8 at Minute Maid Park.

Springer finished 3-for-4 with a walk, two doubles, two RBIs and three runs, while Altuve went 2-for-3 with two walks and an RBI to pace a 17-hit attack for Houston (53-26). Springer clubbed his 24th home run, and club-record ninth leadoff homer, in the first inning against Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn (3-6).

"I'm just happy that I was able to help us win. It's cool. It's great," Springer said of setting the franchise mark for leadoff home runs in a season. "But I'm much happier to help us win and start the offense up today and come back out here tomorrow with a chance to win the series."

Josh Reddick chipped in a three-hit game and three RBIs to help Houston offset a powerful showcase from the Oakland offense. The Athletics (35-43) bashed a season-high five home runs, including a pair from designated hitter Khris Davis.

After Davis hit his 20th and 21st homers in the second and third innings, Ryon Healy added his 19th in the fourth and Matt Olson his third in the fifth. Jed Lowrie belted his ninth home run, and the Athletics' fourth solo shot, in the seventh.

The Lowrie blast was the lone hit Oakland recorded over five innings against the Houston bullpen. Astros right-hander Michael Feliz (4-1) earned the win in relief.

Hahn surrendered 10 runs (nine earned) in two innings last week against the Astros. He was only marginally better this time, departing with no outs in the third after allowing back-to-back singles to Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran.

The Astros reached Hahn for two runs in both the first and second innings.

Hahn departed with a 5-4 lead in the third inning, but that advantage was short-lived. Athletics right-hander Josh Smith allowed both of the runners he inherited to score plus three of his own during in the Astros' five-run frame.

"I wasn't sharp by any means," Hahn said. "I got way behind and wasn't able to limit damage at all when guys got on base. It's tough when you go out there and you're giving it everything you can but you're not getting the results you want."

Springer keyed a two-out rally with his third extra-base hit in as many at-bats, scoring Marwin Gonzalez with the tying run and closing the book on Hahn. Reddick and Carlos Correa followed with RBI singles to up the lead to 9-5.

"Georgie and Josh with really big, big hits, and this is the team we are," Altuve said. "We're going to keep playing like this."

Hahn allowed six runs and nine hits with one strikeout in two-plus innings. His mound opponent, Astros rookie right-hander David Paulino, wasn't much better.

Paulino finished with eight strikeouts and did not walk a batter over four-plus innings. However, he also surrendered seven runs and four homers, including a majestic blast to right field by Olson leading off the fifth inning.

"We battled back," Athletics manager Bob Melvin said. "We were down early, and when they get going like that, you feel like it's tough to stop them, especially when you're behind and you know you're not going to use the guys you would when you're ahead. But we battled back until they added the couple at the end that gave them some distance from us."

NOTES: Athletics RHP Jharel Cotton (blister) will have his turn in the rotation skipped on Thursday, with the club hopeful that he might start on Saturday against Atlanta. Cotton completed a bullpen session without issue on Wednesday. RHPs Daniel Gossett and Sonny Gray will move up one day in the rotation, with Gossett pitching the series finale on Thursday and Gray the series opener with the Braves on Friday. ... Astros RHP Charlie Morton (right lat strain) made his second rehab start on Tuesday with Triple-A Fresno, tossing 47 pitches over four scoreless innings. Morton threw an additional 15 pitches in the bullpen, and returned to Houston on Wednesday to throw a bullpen with Astros coaches observing. A timetable for his reinstatement from the 10-day disabled list is undetermined. ... Astros manager A.J. Hinch named RHPs Lance McCullers and Francis Martes as his starters for the first two games against the New York Yankees this weekend. The starter for the series finale on Sunday is undetermined.

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