OAKLAND, Calif. – Yordan Alvarez hit two of Houston’s seven home runs, and the surging Astros beat Oakland 10-1 to complete another series sweep and hand the Athletics their 11th consecutive loss.
Alvarez homered off opener Ken Waldichuk in the first, then had another solo blast off Garrett Acton in the ninth, right after Jeremy Peña went deep. It was the second multi-homer game this week by Alvarez and the 15th of his career.
Jose Altuve had three hits, including his first home run of the season after missing Houston’s first 43 games with a fractured right thumb. Jake Meyers had a go-ahead three-run blast in the fourth. Chas McCormick and José Abreu added solo shots as the Astros won for the 14th time in 17 games.
The seven home runs are the most hit by any team in Coliseum history.
“We had a lot of fun today,” McCormick said. “It was a good time.”
Few had as much fun as Abreu, who sprinted around the bases following his first home run since last Sept. 13, when he was still with the Chicago White Sox. Abreu signed with Houston as a free agent in November.
The Astros first baseman continued running as he crossed home plate, then slid underneath a pile of teammates gathered near the visitor’s dugout.
“Obviously it was a while since I hit a home run and I had to enjoy it,” Abreu said through a translator. “Life is about that. You have to enjoy those things.”
Cristian Javier (6-1) allowed one run and four hits in five uneven innings. The right-hander had three strikeouts and three walks and also picked off a runner.
Four Houston relievers combined for four scoreless innings to complete the win.
The victory, the 2,124th of manager Dusty Baker’s career, pulled the Astros within two games of division-leading Texas in the AL West.
Six of Houston’s runs came off five home runs in the final three innings.
“It was still a close game and I’m glad we got those runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth,” Baker said. “We finally hit some home runs today, which feels good. It was a good day for us.”
Ryan Noda homered for Oakland. The A’s (10-45) have the worst record in baseball and their losing streak is the franchise’s longest since dropping 12 in a row in 1995-96.
A week after taking three from the A’s at Minute Maid Park in Houston, the Astros thumped Oakland again.
“These (pitchers) are young and they’re going up against some of the best hitters in the game today,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said. “They kind of got a lesson of if you’re going to leave the ball in the middle of the plate, you’re going to get hit and they’re going to take advantage of the mistakes. The mistakes flew out of the ballpark. Their power showed up today in an impressive way.”
Alvarez got his team off to a quick start when he crushed Waldichuk’s first-pitch fastball into the stands in deep right-center. It was the slugger’s seventh home run in May.
Noda tied it with a leadoff blast in the bottom of the inning.
Meyers’ three-run drive off Luis Medina (0-4) put the Astros ahead 4-1. Corey Julks singled leading off the inning and Yainer Diaz reached on an infield single to third before Meyers’ homer.
Winless in four starts since coming up from the minors May 11, Medina allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Before the big inning, the Astros loaded the bases with one out after Medina gave up a walk and a single, then picked up a pitching clock violation with a 3-1 count to Peña. Alvarez, looking for his third grand slam of the season, grounded into a 1-2-3 double play.
McCormick and Altuve had back-to-back shots off Medina in the seventh, one inning after the A’s loaded the bases but failed to score.
Oakland used an opener for the second consecutive game. Medina was scheduled to start before being switched out for Waldichuk.
Astros: Minor league RHP Forrest Whitley (right lat strain), IF Rylan Bannon (fractured right index finger) and IF Will Wagner (right wrist discomfort) will miss time due to their injuries.
Athletics: OF Esteury Ruiz was given the day off to rest.
Astros: RHP J.P. France (1-1, 3.43 ERA) starts against the Twins in Houston on Monday. France had a career-high eight strikeouts against the Brewers his last time out.
Athletics: RHP Paul Blackburn (0-0, 0.00) is scheduled to be activated off the Injured List and make his season debut Monday against Atlanta.