Astros 6, Athletics 4
W: Hernandez (2-3), L: Gray (4-2), S: Neshek (1)
HR: Muncy (2), Carter (7), Rasmus (8), Castro (5)
Let’s go over the numbers, numbers that may be familiar to many of you by now. Going into Tuesday’s game, the Astros were:
23-0 when scoring at least four runs;
7-0 when tied or leading in the 7th;
17-2 when scoring first; and
17-0 when hitting more than one home run.
So if you look above, you’ll see much of what was needed to guarantee a home team victory.
The second inning was key, as Rasmus gunned down a lumbering Max Muncy on a Brett Lawrie DB, I mean 2b, and then Lawrie was himself cut down at the plate on a Fuld single. That stellar defense backed up what was otherwise an impressive outing for Roberto Hernandez, who did a good job of keeping the ball down in the zone.
In the bottom of the frame, Rasmus led off with a ringing double, followed by Carter (slowly but surely finding his stroke) pounding one to the back of the Crawford Boxes for a 2-0 lead. Those two hits moved the Astros’ win probability above 75%, where it would roughly hover while Hernandez allowed single runs in the third and sixth, sandwiched around the Astros barely cashing in on a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the fifth when Altuve made a horrible baselining decision, hesitating for several moments before dashing for the plate on a wild pitch, but way too late to beat the throw.
The 8th inning then provided the needed cushion as Rasmus and Castro went back-to-back to the right field bleachers, giving Gregerson a comfy 6-2 lead that he would try to hand back in the 9th. Fortunately Neshek came on to get the final out, and the Astros had secured their best 40-game start in franchise history.