Gattis, Astros rally in 9th, sweep 3-game set from Athletics
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Evan Gattis broke out of his early season slump with a crisp two-run single. The Astros' clean-up hitter then drove in the winning runs on a pitch up above his shoulders.
That's the way things are going for AL West-leading Houston, which continues to add to its best start in nearly a decade.
Gattis' double with one out in the ninth inning came after Oakland intentionally walked Jed Lowrie to load the bases and enabled the Astros to complete their first sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 7-6 win Sunday.
''I'm glad to finally contribute to a win, to come through with the hit that puts us ahead,'' said Gattis, who matched a career-high with four RBIs. ''Most of us are taught not to hit those pitches, but it's a weakness of mine.''
Gattis lined a 1-2 pitch from Tyler Clippard (0-2) to the deepest part of the field at O.co Coliseum, and center fielder Sam Fuld stumbled while chasing the ball in the air.
Houston manager A.J. Hinch praised Gattis for staying calm despite his early struggles at the plate.
''I'm so happy for him to keep his cool in that situation,'' Hinch said. ''He's been grinding through a tough few weeks, and then the guy tomahawks a ball for the game-winner.''
Jose Altuve extended his hitting streak against the A's to 29 games. Altuve and Jake Marisnick, who homered earlier, scored on Gattis' deciding hit.
Brett Lawrie drove in three runs for Oakland, which dropped three to Houston and has lost a season-high four straight overall.
Tony Sipp (2-0) retired four batters for the win. Former A's reliever Luke Gregerson pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Oakland had taken a 6-5 lead on Marcus Semien's single in the seventh.
A's manager Bob Melvin was ejected in the top of the fourth by plate umpire Quinn Wolcott, who also ejected Melvin from a game last June. Melvin was in the dugout when he was tossed after a pitch thrown by starter Drew Pomeranz to Jason Castro was called a ball.
''I think both teams had some issues with it in that game,'' Melvin said. ''Some other guys were saying something, I think on both sides, but maybe he thought I was a little more demonstrative than anybody else. He's thrown me out before for that.''
Castro eventually walked and scored on Marisnick's second home run of the season, putting the Astros up 5-2.
The A's, who scored only seven runs in their previous three games, seemed to get a spark from their manager's ejection.
Oakland tied it with four hits off Houston starter Asher Wojciechowski in the bottom of the frame. Lawrie had a two-run single and Craig Gentry - who went into the game batting .040 - also drove in a run.
Wojciechowski lasted just four innings in his third career start. He allowed five hits and five runs with two walks and four strikeouts.
Astros: CF Marisnick returned to the lineup after sitting out three games with a sore leg.
Athletics: RHP Kendall Graveman was optioned to the minors after struggling in his first three starts. Jesse Chavez will take Graveman's spot in the rotation. ... Closer Sean Doolittle (strained rotator cuff) threw 20 pitches off flat ground before the game. ... OF Coco Crisp (elbow surgery) could begin taking batting practice by the end of next week.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (3-0) pitches in San Diego on Monday and has won 10 straight decisions, the longest active streak in the majors.
Athletics: RHP Sonny Gray (2-0) faces the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday and has a 1.99 ERA in nine career April starts.