EditorsNote: 4th graf, change ‘out’ to ‘on’ before ‘the 60-day injured list’
Jose Altuve and George Springer each hit a two-run homer, and the host Houston Astros took the rubber game of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics 4-2 on Wednesday afternoon.
Justin Verlander (13-4) allowed two hits over six innings and struck out 11 for his third straight win. The Astros won for the seventh time in eight games and extended their AL West lead over the A’s to 7 1/2 games.
Springer took Oakland starter Chris Bassitt deep to left field in the third inning for his 23rd home run of the season, surpassing his 22 from last season. Altuve hit his 15th home run of the season in the fifth, also off Bassitt.
The sizzling Astros are in firm command of their division and are poised to welcome back star shortstop Carlos Correa from the injured list in time for Friday’s game at St. Louis. Correa finished up a rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday, and has been on the 60-day injured list with a fractured rib since late May.
The A’s scored in the first inning thanks to two Astros errors before and after a delay on the field, while umpires discussed ground rules for a ball hit off the underside of the roof at Minute Maid Park.
Marcus Semien scored from first base on Matt Olson’s single after reaching on an Alex Bregman throwing error. Astros right fielder Josh Roddick misplayed Olson’s hit to allow Semien to cross home plate for a 1-0 Oakland lead.
But the A’s didn’t score again until the top of the ninth off Astros closer Roberto Osuna. Ramon Laureano came home on a force out after back-to-back hits in the inning, but Osuna closed it out for his 23rd save.
Bassitt (7-5) allowed four runs on five hits with seven strikeouts. The A’s have lost three of four.
—Field Level Media