With the two best games of his career coming on consecutive days Zach Hyman Jersey , designated hitter Evan Gattis has quickly transformed into the Astros‘ hottest hitter – and their current good luck charm.
He’s got a franchise record to prove it, too.
Gattis hit two home runs, including the first of back-to-back shots with Marwin Gonzalez during a seven-run second inning, and the streaking Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 13-5 on Wednesday night for their seventh straight win.
One night after homering and setting a career high with five RBIs, Gattis drove in five again, becoming the first player in franchise history to drive in five in consecutive games.
”It was fun to watch our guys respond to his continued damage at-bats,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”They’re taking his helmet off and rubbing it all over themselves and they’re trying to get as close to him as they can. They want whatever he’s eating, whatever he’s doing during the games.”
Jake Marisnick also homered, Carlos Correa had a two-run triple and Yuli Gurriel had three hits and three RBIs to help Gerrit Cole (8-1) win his sixth straight decision.
Gattis had a sacrifice fly in the first inning, hit a three-run home run off A’s starter Paul Blackburn (1-1) in the second then went deep again with a solo blast off Emilio Pagan in the seventh. Gattis also walked in the eighth.
”He’s white hot,” Cole said. ”Just a great approach right now. He’s obviously put the team on his back a little bit.”
Gattis’ 10 RBIs in two games also ties an Astros record, but the big slugger wouldn’t say he’s necessarily locked in at the plate.
”It never feels like it,” Gattis said. ”You’re about to go hit a ball with a stick and you’re going to get out 70 percent of the time. You have to enjoy the good stuff if you’re going to get mad about the negatives in the game.”
Cole allowed a season-high four runs over six uneven innings, including two home runs Alex Burmistrov Jersey , but benefited from the early cushion. The AL leader in strikeouts fanned six and yielded six hits with two walks.
That gives Houston three eight-game winners – Cole, Thursday’s starter Justin Verlander (8-2) and Tuesday’s winner Lance McCullers (8-3).
”Some undesirable results a couple times,” Cole said. ”Fastball command wasn’t poor but it wasn’t as sharp.”
The defending World Series champs moved a season-high 19 games over .500. This is Houston’s longest winning streak since taking seven in a row from Aug. 31-Sept. 6, 2017.
Oakland outfielder Jake Smolinski became the first A’s position player to pitch in a game since utility player Tyler Ladendorf on June 3, 2016. Smolinski allowed a leadoff double to Max Stassi and a two-run home run to Marisnick in the ninth, then retired the next three batters.
”The one thing you really want is don’t get hurt and throw the ball over the middle of the plate, and he did exactly that,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. ”He was up for it. He’s up for just about anything.”
Khris Davis homered twice for Oakland, his 18th and 19th of the season. Stephen Piscotty also went deep.
The Astros flexed their defensive muscle in the eighth after Matt Olson reached on an error. Marisnick made a leaping catch in center to rob Matt Chapman of a home run, then threw to second baseman Tony Kemp, who relayed to first to double up Olson.
Blackburn retired only four batters and allowed eight runs before departing in the second.
Athletics: Chapman made another handful of stellar defensive plays at third base, one night after getting hit in the left hand by a 92.3 mph fastball from Astros reliever Collin McHugh.
Verlander (8-2, 2.58 ERA) makes his 15th start in the series finale for Houston on Thursday. Among qualifying pitchers, Verlander leads the majors in ERA and is second in innings pitched (93 1/3) and third in strikeouts (113). Right-hander Frankie Montas (3-0 Bo Horvat Jersey , 1.25) goes for Oakland.
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame pulled Kelly Gruber from its induction weekend festivities after the former Toronto Blue Jays third baseman made an awkward appearance during a Pitch Talks panel discussion a day earlier.
Gruber was briefly on stage at the Homestand Sports event Thursday night with host Ashley Docking and Rogers Sportsnet broadcaster Kevin Barker in Toronto. In a joint statement Friday, the Hall of Fame and Pitch Talks said the proceedings were stopped 45 minutes early due to Gruber’s ”unacceptable and inappropriate behavior.”
”Basically what happened was by the time he got on stage he appeared to be inebriated,” said Homestand Sports founder Kevin Kennedy. ”He was just acting sort of obnoxious, kind of erratic, he was confrontational with our host, Ashley, and quite quickly I knew that this wasn’t going in the right direction.”
Gruber was one of several former Blue Jays chosen to participate in various Hall events in the lead-up to Saturday’s ceremony in Ontario, where former major league stars Pedro Martinez and Lloyd Moseby will be inducted along with baseball historian William Humber.
Gruber’s representative, Don Graham, emailed a statement from the former player to The Canadian Press on Friday evening.
”There’s two sides to every story and I would love to tell mine,” Gruber said. ”Maybe what I said was taken the wrong way. My intention for being there was to honor my teammate and buddy Lloyd, and the interview part went south for a variety of reasons which I will detail at a later date.”
The 56-year-old Gruber made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in 1984. He won a World Series with Toronto in 1992 and ended his career with the Angels the following year.