HOUSTON — Ramón Laureano hit a two-run homer, rookie Seth Brown connected for his first big league home run and the Oakland Athletics beat the Houston Astros 7-3 on Saturday to win the series.
The Astros won the opener 6-2 on Thursday night to give them five straight victories over the A’s after a four-game sweep to start the season.
But Oakland’s offence , which sputtered as the A’s limped to a 1-7 start, got going on Friday night in a 6-2 win powered by three homers and kept it going in the series finale by piling up a season-high 11 hits. The A's and Astros are scheduled off Sunday.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin was thrilled to see his team rebound after its terrible start this year against the Astros.
“It was huge," Melvin said. “Not only did we lose that series, every game we got blown out and that’s a tough way to start the season. It was important for us to gain some confidence against them. To be able to respond after that and losing (Thursday) was big for us."
There were two outs in the fifth when the A’s got a single from Mark Canha. Laureano followed with his drive, which bounced off the train tracks above left field, to push the lead to 4-0.
The bases were loaded with two outs in the seventh when Jed Lowrie knocked a single into shallow centre field to stretch Oakland’s advantage to 6-0.
Brown sent a homer into the second deck in the eighth inning to give the Athletics five home runs in the last two games after they managed just three in their first eight.
Five of Oakland's runs on Saturday came with two outs.
“We are a clutch team and we know it," Laureano said. “We don’t shy away from it. We have a pretty good professional lineup so I feel good about it."
Saturday’s victory was helped by a strong start from Frankie Montas (1-1), who struggled in his debut, allowing seven runs in less than three innings of a 10-3 loss to the Dodgers. He was much better against the Astros, yielding six hits and one run in six-plus innings to snap a career-long three-game losing streak dating to September.
“I think it was just my location," Montas said. “My last outing I wasn’t really locating my fastball and today I was able to locate it to both sides of the plate."
Montas held Houston scoreless and retired seven in a row before Kyle Tucker’s solo homer to start the seventh ended his day.
“It’s just two games," Tucker said. “Our season is so long. we’re going to lose games, we’re going win games. We’ve got to do our best to get guys on, move them over."
Sergio Romo took over for Montas and plunked Aledmys Díaz before he was chased by Jose Altuve’s RBI double with two outs. Jake Diekman took over and he was greeted with a run-scoring triple by Michael Brantley that cut the lead to 6-3. But Diekman retired Carlos Correa to limit the damage.
Houston starter José Urquidy (0-1) allowed seven hits and four runs while striking out seven in six innings.
Athletics: DH Mitch Moreland sat out a second straight game with a tight hamstring.
Astros: 3B Alex Bregman was out of the lineup as he deals with what manager Dusty Baker said were “sore legs.” He is expected to return for the next game. ... RHP Pedro Báez was transferred from the COVID-19 injured list to the 10-day IL with a sore right shoulder. ... RHP Austin Pruitt was transferred to the 60-day injured list after having elbow surgery this off-season .
Houston starter Jake Odorizzi, who had been at the team’s alternate training site, was added to the taxi squad Saturday and worked out with the Astros before the game. He is expected to make his season debut Tuesday night against Detroit after getting a late start by not signing with the Astros until March 8.
Athletics: Oakland has a day off on Sunday and Chris Bassitt (0-2, 5.56 ERA) will start the opener of a two-game series at Arizona on Monday.
Astros: Houston is also off on Sunday before opening a three-game series with Detroit on Monday. Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38) will start. It will be Houston's first meeting with Tigers manager A.J. Hinch since he was fired by the Astros after being suspended for a year by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for his role in the team's sign-stealing scheme.
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Kristie Rieken, The Associated Press