Matt Olson crushed a three-run home run with one out in the eighth inning and the visiting Oakland Athletics defeated the Houston Astros for the first time in six games, 6-2, on Friday.
Olson belted a 2-1 slider from Astros reliever Blake Taylor 414 feet and halfway into the upper deck in right field. Taylor, who entered in relief of right-hander Bryan Abreu (1-1), surrendered a single to second baseman Jed Lowrie before Olson capped his power-laden night at the plate.
Lowrie and Mark Canha added homers for the Athletics, who were swept at home by the Astros to open the season before dropping the opener of this series on Thursday. Canha cranked a two-run shot off Astros right-hander Joe Smith to complete the scoring in the top of the ninth.
Three Oakland relievers controlled the Astros in support of left-hander Sean Manaea, who limited Houston to one run on six hits and one walk with four strikeouts in six innings. Houston pulled even at 1-1 in the fourth when Kyle Tucker hit an RBI groundout that scored Yuli Gurriel.
Lowrie opened the fourth with a home run to right, his first of the season, off Astros starter Lance McCullers Jr. Lowrie turned on a 2-1 knuckle curve to spot Oakland a 1-0 lead, and McCullers labored for the remainder of that frame to spot his breaking pitch. He issued walks to Matt Chapman and Seth Brown and sidestepped a throwing error by shortstop Carlos Correa.
McCullers did so thanks to the defense of Gurriel, who smothered a sharp grounder from Elvis Andrus despite playing in at first with the bases loaded. Gurriel threw home to erase Chapman for the second out, and McCullers rallied with a strikeout of Aramis Garcia to limit the damage.
McCullers allowed one run on two hits and three walks with six strikeouts over five innings.
–Field Level Media