Right-hander Jose Urquidy ran his unbeaten streak to five games thanks in large part to the support of home runs from Alex Bregman and Martin Maldonado as the Houston Astros opened a three-game road series with an 8-3 romp over the Oakland Athletics on Friday night.
After learning that he was denied a starting spot in fan balloting for the All-Star Game, American League Most Valuable Player candidate Yordan Alvarez contributed a double, walk, RBI and two runs to Houston’s fourth straight win in Oakland this season.
Urquidy (8-3), who was just 5-3 with a 5.04 ERA after a loss to the Seattle Mariners on June 8, limited the A’s to three runs and four hits in a season-best eight innings to lower his ERA to 4.08. He walked one and struck out two.
Seeking a third win in the first four games on their current homestand, the A’s scored first on a two-run homer by Elvis Andrus in the second inning, his sixth of the season.
The Astros dominated from there, first getting a two-run homer from Bregman in a three-run fourth to take the lead for good, then beginning a pull-away on Maldonado’s three-run homer in the fifth.
The home runs were No. 11 for Bregman and No. 8 for Maldonado.
Kyle Tucker and Yuli Gurriel added RBI singles in the seventh to make it 8-2.
After retiring the first 10 batters he faced, five via strikeouts, Oakland starter Paul Blackburn (6-4) served up both Astros home runs and was pulled without getting an out in the fifth. In his four-plus innings, he was charged with six runs on seven hits, with one walk and six strikeouts.
Gurriel finished with three hits, while Bregman, Aledmys Diaz and Jake Meyers had two apiece for the Astros, who swept a three-game set in Oakland bridging May and June.
Stephen Piscotty’s sacrifice fly in the seventh plated the final run for Oakland, which trails Houston by 28 games in the AL West.
The Astros out-hit the A’s 14-4.
–Field Level Media