(c) Houston Chronicle
Pitching. Defense. Home runs. The Astros used all three Tuesday night to secure a 3-1 win over the Oakland Athletics at Minute Maid Park.
Collin McHugh pitched out of some early trouble, tossing six scoreless innings and earning his ninth win of the season. Jose Altuve and Marwin Gonzalez were among a number of Astros to turn in outstanding defensive plays and Colby Rasmus and Evan Gattis hit long home runs.
Rasmus came off the disabled list and didn't waste any time making an impact. Playing for the first time since August 5th, Colby had a big second inning. After throwing Ryon Healy out at the plate to end the top half of the frame, Colby jacked a solo homer into the rightfield seats in the bottom of the inning to give the Astros a 1-0 lead. The homer snapped an 0-for-23 slump Rasmus had endured while playing with an ear infection that eventually required surgery.
In the third, George Springer coaxed a 2-out walk, stole second, and advanced to third on Stephen Vogt's throwing error. Alex Bregman slapped a single up the middle, scoring Springer to increase Houston's lead to 2-0.
Evan Gattis put the Astros up 3-0 in the seventh with a long home run to left-centerfield. Gattis' 22nd homer of the year was only the fourth hit of the game for the Astros off Oakland starter Kendall Graveman.
Houston's triumvirate of late-inning relievers Will Harris, Luke Gregerson, and Ken Giles successfully protected the lead. Oakland's only run of the night was an unearned tally in the eighth inning made possible by a rare fielding error by shortstop Carlos Correa.
Giles breezed through a 1-2-3 ninth, enduring a delay due to a trespassing fan, recording two strikeouts to notch his sixth save of the season.
During the game Astro-killer Coco Crisp was traded by the A's to the Cleveland Indians -- meaning the Astros wont have to deal with that particular menace when they go for the 3-game series sweep Wednesday afternoon. Mike Fiers opposes lefty Ross Detwiler at 1:10 Central.
- Greg Thurston