Springer hits 20th homer, Astros launch 3 to beat A’s 4-1
As good as the Houston Astros have been at home this season, they’ve been even better on the road while piling up wins at a ridiculous rate.
It’s a fact that’s not lost on manager A.J. Hinch, although he’s not inclined to read much into it just yet.
George Springer hit his 20th home run, Jake Marisnick and Derek Fisher also went deep and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 4-1 on Monday night.
Evan Gattis and Alex Bregman both doubled twice to help the Astros improve to a major league-best 24-8 on the road while winning their seventh straight at the Coliseum.
“Twelve months ago I was asking why we were so terrible on the road and we were really good at home,” Hinch said. “I think it’s more coincidence. This is the same core group of guys that struggled on the road before. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. We don’t flaunt it. We don’t have too much arrogance. We like our team. We like our guys.”
Brad Peacock (4-1) struck out eight in 5 2/3 innings. He retired 16 of his first 18 batters and didn’t allow a runner past first until Matt Joyce’s one-out double in the sixth.
“Just working on the fastball, throwing the slider for strikes and throwing it for balls when I needed to,” Peacock said. “I’m not really trying to strike anybody out. I’m just trying to make pitches and trying to go deep in the game.”
Three relievers combined to get 10 outs for Houston. Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his 17th save.
Jed Lowrie doubled in Oakland’s run. The A’s were coming off a four-game sweep of the AL East-leading New York Yankees but fell 15½ games behind the first-place Astros in the AL West.
Marisnick hit his ninth homer on a 2-2 pitch from rookie starter Daniel Gossett (0-2), a two-run drive that bounced off the façade underneath the lower row of luxury suites in center field.
Springer homered off John Axford leading off the eighth.
Fisher’s home run came in the ninth but the outfielder was informed after the game that he was being optioned to the minors to make room for Josh Reddick, set to come off the disabled list Tuesday.
The A’s scored their lone run in the sixth. After Joyce doubled and Chad Pinder walked, Lowrie hit a ball into right-center. Joyce scored easily but Pinder was thrown out at home on a relay by shortstop Carlos Correa.
“At that point, you’ve got to send him and take a chance,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “We know Correa’s got a good arm but we weren’t doing a whole lot. When you get an opportunity to potentially tie the game, you’ve got to send him.”
Springer led off the game with a sinking liner to left that Oakland’s Khris Davis initially appeared to catch after diving for it. The ball popped out of Davis’ glove after he hit the turf and skidded, but third base umpire Mike Everitt signaled out. The Astros challenged and the call was overturned following a replay review.
Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. threw a bullpen before the game and could return to the rotation this week. … RHP Charlie Morton (lat strain) will likely need two to three rehab starts in the minors to build up arm strength, Hinch said. … LHP Dallas Keuchel (neck) played catch before the game.
Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman was held out with a left knee infection. … SS Marcus Semien (wrist) will begin a rehab assignment this weekend. … RHP Kendall Graveman (right shoulder strain) threw in the outfield and came out fine.
Oakland bench coach Mark Kotsay took an indefinite leave of absence to be with his daughter, who suffered an eye injury. Chip Hale will fill in for Kotsay, and Steve Scarsone replaced Hale as third base coach.
Oakland RHP Sonny Gray (2-2, 4.44 ERA) faces Houston for the first time this season Tuesday night. Astros RHP Francis Martes (1-0, 5.19) makes his second major league start.