Maybe watching the first batter of the ballgame leave after getting hit by a high inside pitch was enough motivation or maybe it was just the knowledge that a four-game sweep of Oakland signals to the rest of the American League that Houston is back in the saddle after a few rocky weeks but the Astros pounded Jesse Hahn for ten runs in the first two innings on Thursday and cruised to a 12-9 drubbing over the A's to become the majors' first team to 50 wins this season.
Paulino: Continues progress
(c) Associated Press
Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez both drilled three-run homers in the eight-run second while Josh Reddick, the former Athletic, smashed three hits and scored four times.
Nori Aoki added three hits, including a pair of doubles, while Evan Gattis' bat is heating up, driving in three more runs Thursday. Houston has now won 8-of-9 against the AL West cellar dwellars.
David Paulino was the lucky beneficiary. He earned it, too, lasting into the sixth inning, allowing three runs on seven hits. The big guy fanned six for his second major league win.
Dayan Diaz appears to have taken the "Win a Free Trip to Fresno Sweepstakes" by giving up five runs in garbage time as the pesky A's tried to make the score respectable. Somebody has to be sent down when Lance McCullers is activated Saturday.
Chris Devenski put an exclamation point on the game by striking out the side in the bottom of the ninth for his third save.
As for George Springer, the man who got hit to start the game, he is listed as day-to-day (aren't we all?) with a contusion in his left hand. The team's home run leader may be given a couple of days to rest which the Astros can afford given the massive lead they have in the division.
The West Coast swing continues on Friday in Seattle when Joe Musgrove (4-6) challenges King Felix Hernandez (2-2) who is making his first start since April due to bursitis. The first pitch will be at 9:10 Central for you night owls.
- Bob Hulsey