Gattis’ second straight 5-RBI night a first
OAKLAND, Calif. — The result was a foregone conclusion. What remained was compulsory, completing the 27 outs required to end this farce and conclude another series win for the Astros, 13-5 against the Athletics on Wednesday night.
Still, the beating continued as the Astros won their seventh consecutive game, their longest streak of the season.
Evan Gattis arrived in the seventh inning of a six-run game. Danny Coulombe was the latest in a cavalcade of relievers tasked with cleaning the mess Paul Blackburn left. A first-pitch sinker sat up in the strike zone.
Gattis bludgeoned it onto an insurance company’s advertisement well beyond the Coliseum’s left-field wall. He rounded the bases. The motion has become rote with Gattis’ torrid month and unmatched power inside this building.
For a second night in a row, Gattis drove in five runs. No other player in Astros history had produced consecutive games of five or more RBIs. Now, a man who in his first 634 games had never once driven in four or more runs, has done it.
He’s struck eight home runs inside this decrepit building few can force themselves to enter. Only Minute Maid Park and Turner Field — Gattis’ past and present home ballpark — have been the site for more. The seventh-inning
blast was his second of the evening and ninth in 14 games.
Gattis’ three-run home run in the second inning continued the Astros’ 42-minute assault, a total evisceration of Blackburn — a 24-year-old righthanded veteran of 11 Major League starts — and the four actual pitchers who followed his wretched display.
Jake Smolinski, an outfielder, threw the ninth inning. Jake Marisnick launched a two-run home run against him on his second pitch, an absurd site late at night all caused by Blackburn. Rough outing
Little was known of Blackburn, who the A’s assigned to slow the Astros’ unforgiving lineup. Advance scouts disseminated reports. Troubling lines from his 11 other major league starts raised concern.
He allowed one hit per inning last season, residing low in the strike zone with a fivepitch mix designed to generate soft contact. Only 22 men struck out against him in 58 innings. A stint on the 60-day disabled list delayed his progress this season.
He was reactivated Thursday to start against the Royals, a moribund bunch who await the Astros’ arrival in two days. Operating on a pitch count, Blackburn navigated the start without hindrance, ceding three hits in six innings that required 67 pitches to complete.
“Hasn’t missed a lot of bats in his career,” manager A.J. Hinch said before Wednesday’s game, prescient words before a bludgeoning.
Blackburn threw 47 pitches and collected four outs. One produced a run, Gattis’ sacrifice fly that scored Carlos Correa during a three-run first inning. Fast start
Five of the six men to face him in the second inning reached base. The Astros scored seven times to take a 10run lead before making a fifth out.
Against Blackburn in the second, Correa crushed an RBI triple that Mark Canha mishandled in left field, allowing both Jake Marisnick and Springer to scoot home.
Gurriel and Josh Reddick singled — Gurriel’s drove in another run — before A’s manager Bob Melvin emerged from the dugout to mercifully end Blackburn’s tenure in favor of Emilio Pagan. His first assignment was undesirable, facing Gattis with a man in scoring position.
Pagan offered two fourseam fastballs on the outer half. Gattis spoiled both foul. A third grooved inside. Gattis deposited it to left field, the threerun shot to render this game a boat race. Marwin Gonzalez followed four pitches later with a solo shot of his own. email@example.com twitter.com/chandler_rome
Evan Gattis gets his second consecutive five-RBI game started with a sacrifice fly in the first inning Wednesday.