Jose Altuve scored four times, Michael Brantley smacked three doubles and the Houston Astros slugged their way to a 9-5 victory over the host Oakland Athletics on Friday.
Alex Bregman drove in three runs while Yuli Gurriel, like Altuve, reached base five times for the Astros, who jumped out to a 5-0 lead but needed a three-run ninth inning to secure the victory.
The Athletics initiated their comeback against Astros right-hander Cristian Javier, who breezed through the first three innings with a minimal number of pitches. But when Mark Canha reached on a leadoff single in the fourth, Javier began to falter.
Ramon Laureano followed with an RBI triple, and later scored when Mitch Moreland concluded an 11-pitch plate appearance with a sacrifice fly. Jed Lowrie’s single chased Javier in favor of Bryan Abreu (1-0).
Chad Pinder delivered a pinch two-run homer off Astros left-hander Brooks Raley in the seventh, and Matt Olson doubled and scored in the eighth to pull the Athletics to within 6-5.
In the ninth, however, Kyle Tucker’s single off Jake Diekman scored Altuve and Brantley to give the Astros breathing room.
Related: MLB games today – Offseason Schedule
Ryan Pressly, the fifth Houston reliever, worked a scoreless ninth.
Oakland starter Jesus Luzardo (0-1) worked around a pair of two-out hits in the second by striking out his third batter of the inning, but he was ambushed in the third when Brantley followed a leadoff walk from Altuve with a double to leave runners at second and third.
Bregman then crushed the next pitch 396 feet out to left-center for a three-run home run and 3-0 lead.
The Astros flexed extra-base power again in the fourth.
Gurriel pushed the lead to 4-0 with his leadoff homer, and Brantley added to that advantage with a two-run double. Of the eight hits Houston recorded off Luzardo, four went for extra bases.
Luzardo allowed five runs and struck out eight against one walk.
–Field Level Media