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A’s strike early, beat Astros 6-2

Oakland picks up a series win over the AL West leader.

Oakland Athletics v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Oakland Athletics struck early and never looked back in a 6-2 win over the Houston Astros Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park.

The A’s didn’t waste any time getting on the board against Justin Verlander. Zack Gelof doubled off the glove of Kyle Tucker deep in right center. Ryan Noda followed with a rocket single off the wall in right that scored Gelof to make it 1-0. After Seth Brown struck out for the second out, Shea Langeliers sent one onto the train tracks in left field for a two-run shot to push the advantage to 3-0.

The Astros got one of those runs back quickly against JP Sears. Jose Altuve reached on an infield single. After a fly out by Jeremy Pena, Yordan Alvarez dropped down a perfect bunt that hit the bag at third for a single. Sears then walked Bregman to load the bases. Kyle Tucker sent a grounder to Zack Gelof who threw to first for the second out. Altuve scored on the play to cut Oakland’s lead to 3-1. Sears struck out Jose Abreu to end the inning.

The A’s added on in the third. Gelof doubled to left to start the inning. After Noda struck out, Brown sent one over the head of Mauricio Dubon in center for a double that scored Gelof to push the lead to 4-1.

Oakland added another run in the fifth as Tony Kemp led off the inning with his fifth home run of the season to right to extend the lead to 5-1.

Sears settled down after the first inning and retired seven straight hitters before Dubon singled to start the fifth inning. Martin Maldonado then singled off the glove of Jordan Diaz at third to put runners at the corners.

Sears then got Altuve to pop out behind the mound that he made a nice running grab on and then threw to first to double off Maldonado for a huge double play.

That would be big as Pena followed with a double that scored Dubon to cut the A’s lead to 5-2. Sears came right back and struck out Alvarez to end the inning.

Sears retired the side in order in the sixth and would then give way to Lucas Erceg for the seventh. Sears pitched well allowing five hits, two walks and two runs over six innings. He struck out three while throwing 83 pitches.

Erceg allowed a one out double to Dubon, but nothing else in a scoreless seventh and Oakland added on in the eighth. Noda was hit by a pitch from Parker Mushinski. Brown then doubled to left and scored Noda all the way from first to push the lead back to four at 6-2.

Dany Jimenez entered in the eighth and retired the side in order, striking out Alvarez and Bregman. Trevor May retired the side in order in the ninth to seal the win.

The A’s pick up their 46th win of the season and take the series. They will go for a sweep Wednesday with Paul Blackburn matching up against Astros righty Hunter Brown.