Oakland, Calif. ( Associated Press) –
Yordan Alvarez hit a pair of homers without a doubt, Framber Valdez pitched a two-hitter for a rare full game, and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Monday.
After scoring five runs in the last four games, the Astros’ batsman woke up against Oakland ace Paul Blackburn (5–1).
Jose Altuve also went along a two-run homer In fifth which was the 174th of his career, he tied with George Springer as the fifth-highest ever by a Houston player.
This was more than enough support for Valdez (5-2), who threw just his seventh nine-innings full game in the Majors this season. He scored seven runs, scored three runs and threw 114 pitches in the longest outing in his five-year big league career. His only other completed game was a six-innings appearance in a doubleheader last season.
Valdez, who won his fourth straight start, did not allow a hit until Kevin Smith’s clean double moved to sixth from the left. He was helped by Elvis Andrus in fifth from a diving stop by Altuve at second base on a line drive.
Ramon Loreno followed with an RBI single But could not generate anything else for Oakland’s first run in the sixth.
Blackburn was even better than Valdez of late, coming in with a 1.70 ERA in the game and allowing only one homer in 47 2/3 innings.
This success did not continue against the Astros and lvarez shot without a doubt in the right-field halfway point, which Lauriano didn’t even look to see.
Martin Maldonado added an RBI single in fifth before Altuve’s homer as Blackburn allowed a season-high four in 6 2/3 innings.
The A have lost seven of 10 and trail the Astros by 12 games in the AL West, their biggest loss in the division since being 12 back on June 16, 2019.
According to Sportradar, the two long homers marked the 22nd time since 2015 that a player hit a pair of homers traveling at least 440 feet in the same game. The last player to do so was Aaron Judge on September 30, 2021, against Toronto.
There was a scary moment in the seventh inning when Altuve and Christian Bethancourt collided at first base. Altuve hit a grounder in third and Chad Pinder had a high in first. Bethancourt jumped to take the catch and Altuve ran to him as he hit the base. Both the players immediately went down and the coaches of both the teams came on the field. Altuve was replaced on defense in the bottom of the eighth.
Astros: RF Kyle Tucker (left leg) is out for a second straight game and is day-to-day. Manager Dusty Baker said an MRI showed Tucker had swelling but no structural damage.
Athletics: Smith came limping on his double and was replaced by pinch-runner Seth Brown. There was no immediate word on Smith’s condition.
RHP Cristian Xavier (3-2, 2.43) opens the game for Houston mid-series against A’s RHP Frankie Montas (2-4, 3.28). Javier hit a career-high tally of nine strikeouts on his last debut against Cleveland last Wednesday. Montas are 0-3 in their last seven, despite a 3.12 ERA in that period.
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