Evan Gattis whose base running mistake in the first inning cost the Houston Astros a big inning crushed a seventh inning opposite field three run home run to turn a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The win on Saturday night September 19, 2015 snapped a five game losing streak for the Astros.
“It feels good to finally win a game,” said a relieved Houston manager A.J. Hinch in his post-game press conference. “It was exciting. That’s the biggest hit in the biggest moment,” continued HInch talking about the blast from Gattis. “You never expect homeruns like that but to go opposite field at the most critical at bat of the game at that particular point, it woke everybody up.”
The Astros jumped on A’s starter Sonny Gray early. Lead-off hitter Jose Altuve doubled on an 0-1 pitch, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored the game’s first run on a Carlos Correa sacrifice fly. Jed Lowrie added an rbi double and scored the third run of the inning on a throwing error by Oakland catcher Carson Blair. Gattis who would later hit the game winning shot walked in the first and was doubled up trying to advance to second on a fly ball to right.
Houston starter Scott Kazmir who entered the game with a 7-10 record and a 3.06 ERA having allowed one run or less in 12 starts this season could not enjoy his run support on this night. The veteran left-hander allowed solo homeruns to Jake Smolinski and Marcus Semien and an rbi single to Mark Canha before the A’s chased him in the fourth.
Vincent Velasquez, the first of five Houston relievers, got the final out of the fourth before being banged around in a three run Oakland fifth inning. With two outs, the hard throwing righty surrendered a walk and three consecutive rbi hits and a 6-3 Oakland lead.
It appeared that it would be deja vu of Friday night all over again when the Astros scored three early and then had two hits the rest of the way. A lead-off double by Colby Rasmus and an rbi by Luis Valbuena got one run back before Matt Duffy, a 26 year old infielder who made his MLB debut in Texas three days ago ripped a Drew Pomeranz offering to the base of the left-centerfield wall for his first major league hit and rbi pulling the Astros to within a run.
Trailing 6-5 with two gone in the Houston seventh, Gattis delivered the blow that would snap the Astros five game losing streak and knock reliever Francisco Rodriguez from the game.
Glad to be in the spot,” said Gattis about his 25th home run of the season. “Glad to put a good swing on the ball. Had a base running error earlier, and glad I could make up for it. Glad I got enough on it to get it out.”
Houston tacked on two more in the eighth. Catcher Max Stassi hit his first major league homerun off an 0-1 deliver from Dan Otero. George Springer drove home the game’s final run for a 10-6 win.
Chad Qualls picked up the win for Houston (78-71), Rodriguez took the loss for Oakland (64-85).