This may go down as the best road trip for one player in franchise history. After banging three homers and driving in ten during a three-game series in Oakland, Evan Gattis is showing that a change of scenery hasn't cooled him off. El Oso Blanco smacked two hits, including the decisive grand slam homer in the sixth, to upend Kansas City, 7-3, Friday night to keep the Astros a half-game ahead of Seattle in the AL West race after the Mariners came back to edge Boston, 8-7.
All hail King Gattis (r)
(c) Texas News Service
Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa led up to the key moment with solo shots in the fourth off Jakob Junis to tie the contest at 2-2. Charlie Morton gave up a third run in the fifth but was able to hang around for six innings to pick up his eighth victory in nine decisions.
With one out in the sixth, Correa and Jose Altuve beat out infield singles while Josh Reddick dumped a base hit to left that filled the bases. Gattis crushed a 2-2 pitch from Junis into the seats just to the left of dead-away center field to give him 14 RBIs on the four-game trip.
Marwin Gonzalez doubled home Gattis in the eighth for the final run. The victory was Houston's ninth straight while the Royals have dropped ten of their last eleven.
Brad Peacock, Tony Sipp and Collin McHugh pitched an inning each of relief to close it out. Houston is temporarily a man short in the bullpen as lefty Reymin Guduan is taking paternity leave to await the birth of his first son. Infielder Tyler White was recalled from AAA Fresno and is expected to see pinch-hit and late-inning duties while up with the parent club.
Saturday features a duel of disappoing southpaws as Dallas Keuchel (3-8) tries again to snap his personal hex when he faces Danny Duffy (3-6) in a 1:15 pm Central afternoon contest. Keuchel could not hold a 6-0 lead in his last start so he is having major problems justifying his spot in the rotation.
- Bob Hulsey