Astros rout A’s 10-4, secure ALDS home-field advantage
HOUSTON (AP) — Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker hit two of the Astros’ four homers as Houston locked up home-field advantage in the AL Division Series with a 10-4 win over the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night.
With the win, the AL West champion Astros will have host the first two games in their best-of-five match-up against the AL Central champion White Sox next week. The Astros own the tiebreaker over the White Sox, winning five out of seven against Chicago this season.
“It feels great,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “It feels great for us. It feels great for our team. It feels great for the city. This is what you play for and what you wanted.”
Alvarez connected on a three-run homer to right in the first, and Tucker hit a two-run homer to left in the seventh.
Jason Castro hit a solo home run into the first row of the Crawford Boxes in left in the second, and Yuli Gurriel hit a solo home run to left in the third that was initially ruled a double but overturned and ruled a home run on review.
Michael Brantley had a two-run triple in the sixth to increase Houston’s lead to 8-3.
Gurriel and Brantley had two hits each, leaving Gurriel leading the AL with a .318 average going into the final day and Brantley second at .313.
Alex Bregman added an RBI groundout in the second. Jose Altuve had four hits for Houston.
“I like the fact that the last couple games, we’re scoring,” Baker said. “We have some guys swinging the bat pretty good.”
Jake Odorizzi yielded three runs on seven hits with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings. Odorizzi did not pitch more than five innings in any of his last six outings.
“My fastball command was pretty good,” Odorizzi said. “I felt it had good metrics to it. It was one of my higher carry days of the season. That’s good to see. That’s one of my strong points. I think it’s the highest that it’s been this year. I felt like I located it pretty well.”
Phil Maton (6-0) loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth but induced a groundout by Seth Brown to earn the win.
Oakland took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI triple by Starling Marte and an RBI double by Chad Pinder.
Tony Kemp, who had a career-high four hits, hit RBI singles in the fifth and eighth innings.
“He’s had a great year let alone the last couple months,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said of Kemp. “Whether we lead him off, whether we hit him down the lineup, whether he plays second, whether he plays left, he’s just had a good year. This is the best year he’s ever had.”
Paul Blackburn (1-4) was tagged for a season-high six runs on seven hits in two innings. Blackburn’s struggles against the Astros continued as the right-hander has allowed 21 runs over 13 1/3 innings in four career appearances against Houston.
“Today is definitely a tough thing to go into the offseason with,” Blackburn said. “I’m kind of frustrated and kind of embarrassed with the way it went today.”
TUCKER ROBS KEMP
Tucker kept the Astros in front in the sixth, stealing a game-tying three-run homer from Kemp with a leaping grab at the right field wall to end the inning.
“That’s a big shift,” Melvin said. “It’s a tie game. … Credit Tucker for getting a good jump and making a good play.”
Khris Davis hit a flyball that hit the roof and was caught by Alvarez. After the umpires convened to discuss the play, Davis was ruled out end the fourth inning. Melvin was not pleased with the ruling, saying that it was a big shift in the game.
“In fair territory you play it, in foul territory it’s dead,” Melvin said. “That ball was going to be so far over the fence that you would think common sense would rule, and MLB would do something like Tampa where they have a line or some mark up there to show what a home run would be because that ball would have hit the glass.”
Astros: OF Jose Siri has a small fracture in his right pinkie finger, Baker said. “He is being further evaluated to see what he can do, and if he can do it,” Baker said. Siri suffered the injury sliding into third on a triple in the first inning on Friday.
RHP José Urquidy (8-3, 3.56) will start in the series and season finale opposite Oakland LHP Cole Irvin (10-15, 4.18).