HOUSTON — Matt Olson‘s tiebreaking three-run homer in the eighth inning lifted the Oakland Athletics to a 6-2 win over Houston Astros on Friday night.
The victory comes after the Astros beat the A’s five times in this young season and is just the second win overall for Oakland this year.
The game was tied at 1-all when Mark Canha opened the eighth with a single to left field off Bryan Abreu (1-1). Jed Lowrie, a former Astro who hit a solo shot in the fourth, followed with a single with one out.
Olson then sent a slider from Blake Taylor into the second deck in right field to put the A’s up 4-1. Olson admired his soaring shot for a couple of seconds before trotting around the bases and returning to a dugout that was celebrating just its fifth homer of the season.
“Hopefully it sparks (us) a little bit,” Olson said. “It was good to feel a little emotion and adrenaline in the dugout after such a tough start. Hopefully we can ride this into tomorrow and hopefully turn this around.”
Canha added a two-run homer in the ninth to pad the lead.
A’s starter Sean Manaea yielded six hits and one run in six innings. The lefty had a much better outing than in his start against Houston last week when he gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings of a 9-2 loss.
“It definitely felt like I needed to go out there and prove something,” he said. “So it was nice to go out there and pitch a good game.”
Yusmeiro Petit (2-0) allowed one hit in a scoreless seventh for the win.
Houston starter Lance McCullers allowed two hits and one run with six strikeouts in five innings.
“We made a couple of mistakes and they capitalized on them,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “That was the ball game.”
The victory was a much-needed boost for a team that has struggled mightily this season. The A’s had scored just 19 runs combined in their first eight games and each of their seven losses were by at least four runs.
“It’s been a tough go for us,” Olson said. “We haven’t been putting together the best at-bats… and we’ve had some chances and haven’t made the most of them (but) things are trending up for us finally after such a tough start.”
Lowrie homered into the seats in right field to start the fourth inning and put Oakland up 1-0. The Athletics used two walks and an error by Carlos Correa to load the bases with one out in the inning. But McCullers escaped the jam when Elvis Andrus grounded into a force out that left Matt Chapman out at home before striking out Aramis Garcia.
Friday was the first game this season without a homer for the Astros, who lead the majors with 15. They’d been unstoppable against the Athletics before Friday’s game, outscoring them 41-11 in the five wins.
Altuve had two hits on Friday night, but Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Yordan Alvarez combined to go 0 for 13 with Alvarez striking out four times. The Astros went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position as they lost their second game of the season.
Astros: Placed reliever Enoli Paredes on the 10-day injured list with right side soreness and recalled RHP Nivaldo Rodriguez from their alternate training site.
JAKE GETTING READY
Houston starter Jake Odorizzi is inching closer to making his debut after getting a late start by not signing with the team until March 8. He allowed five hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings of an exhibition game at the team’s alternate training site on Thursday night.