Gurriel drives in four runs as Astros thump Athletics 8-1

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — José Altuve homered on the first pitch of the game, Yuli Gurriel drove in four runs to back Zack Greinke, and the Houston Astros won for the seventh time in eight games by beating the Oakland Athletics 8-1 on Wednesday night.

Greinke (4-1) struck out eight and didn’t walk a batter, allowing one run on four hits over eight impressive innings to win back-to-back starts for the first time this season.

Gurriel hit a pair of two-run doubles among his four hits, Carlos Correa contributed two RBI singles and Michael Brantley also singled home a late run for Houston.

The Astros pulled back within a half-game of the defending AL West champion A’s in the division race — with everybody realizing it’s still May and early but fully expecting these two clubs to chase each other down to the end. Houston hasn’t led the West since April 8.

Sean Murphy had an RBI double in the second for Oakland, coming off its major league-leading fifth walk-off win in a 6-5 victory a night earlier.

Altuve, still getting booed at every chance in Oakland since the Astros’ 2017-18 sign-stealing scam was exposed, extended his hitting streak to 13 games. It’s his first hitting streak of 12 or more games since a career-best 19-game string during the 2017 World Series championship season.

A’s righty Frankie Montas (5-3) had his three-start winning streak snapped. He allowed two runs and seven hits over five innings, struck out six and walked two.

ROOKIE’S SHOT

Astros right-handed pitching prospect Tyler Ivey has been called up to make his major league debut Friday against Texas.

“It’s indescribable,” said the 25-year-old Ivey, who grew up in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett as a Rangers fan. “To be making my debut there, I really can’t describe it.”

He’s expecting as many as 50 friends and family members in the stands.

“It’ll be pretty overwhelming. It’ll be quite the experience, for sure,” said Ivey, who also had a short stint as an Astros fan more than 15 years ago.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: Manager Dusty Baker remains hopeful of welcoming back third base coach Gary Pettis sometime in June after his absence while undergoing treatment for cancer in Southern California.

“He’s making great strides. He’s hoping sometime next month,” Baker said of the 63-year-old Pettis, fighting multiple myeloma. “We miss him. We just pray that he gets healed.”

Athletics: RHP Mike Fiers, on the injured list with a sprained elbow, isn’t ready to play catch yet. “He hasn’t thrown yet. He’s still doing strengthening stuff,” manager Bob Melvin said. “We’re still a ways away with him.” … LHP A.J. Puk (strained left biceps) is set to pitch an inning with Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday, while LHP Jesús Luzardo (hairline fracture in his pinkie) will throw with the A’s. He is likely to need some innings with Las Vegas before returning, too.

UP NEXT

LHP Cole Irvin (3-4, 3.02 ERA) takes the mound for the A’s in the series finale looking for his first victory against the Astros after going 0-2 with a 7.45 ERA in two previous matchups, both this year. Houston starts RHP Luis García (1-3, 3.34) as he tries to win consecutive outings for the first time in his career.

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