In a game they already trailed by 10 runs, the Astros authored history.
George Springer’s second solo home run on Tuesday was the team’s 250th of the season, breaking a 19-year-old single-season franchise record. Martin Maldonado added two other home runs, upping the total to 252.
ASTROS INSIDER AT TEXAS SPORTS NATION: Wade Miley searches for solution
Springer is one of six Astros with at least 20 home runs — another franchise record. Injured shortstop Carlos Correa (19) and catcher Robinson Chirinos (17) are also nearing the threshold. Four players — Yuli Gurriel, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley – have already established career-highs.
Houston is one of five franchises to break a single-season home run record this season, joining the Yankees, Padres, Twins and Dodgers.
A battle is brewing between Abraham Toro and Kyle Tucker for the final spot on Houston’s American League Division Series roster.
The Astros customarily carry a 14th position player during the five-game ALDS before shrinking to a three-man bench and 12-man pitching staff in the American League Championship Series.
Twelve position player spots are all but assured for the ALDS, leaving two slots on the four-man bench. Myles Straw seems likely to occupy one as a pinch-runner.
It leaves Tucker and Toro ostensibly in a tussle for the one opening. Neither prospect was in Wednesday night’s starting lineup against the A’s.
Toro is the team’s only active switch-hitter and has much more defensive versatility than Tucker, a lefthanded-hitting corner outfielder with more established power throughout his minor league career.
Toro is 14-for-55 in his first 16 major league games. Five of his hits garnered extra bases. Tucker is 7-for-24 with three extra-base hits and a much-improved demeanor from his call-up last season.
“I think this is a nice reminder for me and the coaches and the organization of how much people can learn and adapt in the course of a year,” manager A.J. Hinch said of Tucker, who went 9-for-64 during two separate stints in the major leagues last season.
“I think he’s matured a bit and I think he has an appreciation for being in the big leagues. I think his sense of urgency has been good and I think he understands the type of team that he’s on.”
When he joined the major league team on Sept. 2, Tucker said making a playoff roster was his foremost personal goal. His first eight games seem to have erased lingering concerns surrounding his pregame preparation and overall readiness to contribute.
“He’s blended in well, he’s studied well,” Hinch said. “I think he’s more prepared to be a big leaguer today than he was when he got here last year and that’s a compliment to our development staff, to him and to our organization.”
Though Tucker has continued his introduction to first base during the last three games — two Astros wins by a 36-1 margin and Tuesday night’s 21-7 loss to the A’s — Hinch said the putting him there was more because of the blowout score than any potential long-term situation.
“His first-base usefulness is not going to factor into his postseason consideration,” Hinch said. “It’s more about his at-bats, his at-bats off the bench, playing the two outfield corner positions and how we configure different things once we get to that decision.”
HOUSTON — The Oakland Athletics could think of no better way to erase the memory of a blowout loss to the Houston Astros than to turn things around on the AL West leaders on Tuesday night.
Matt Olson and Sean Murphy each homered twice, and the Athletics tagged Wade Miley for seven runs in the first inning and scored a season high in a 21-7 rout of the Astros.
After being blanked in a lopsided loss on Monday, Oakland recovered to win its seventh of nine and remained a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot.
“It’s awesome to respond to — there’s no other way to put it — the [butt]-kicking that we got yesterday,” Olson said. “To be able to come back. We always know we can compete against these guys, and to do it in the fashion that we did today was nice.”
The Astros were coming off a 21-1 win over Seattle on Sunday and a 15-0 thrashing of Oakland on Monday in which they hit seven homers.
But on Tuesday, the A’s tied a franchise record with 25 hits and built a 7-0 lead in the first inning without an extra-base knock. They still ended up tying a season high with six homers after not hitting any in their previous two games. Their 25 hits were the most they’d hit since 1969.
Khris Davis hit Oakland’s first long ball in the second inning. Olson went deep in the third and added another homer in a six-run fourth that also featured blasts by Murphy and Marcus Semien to push the lead to 17-2. The A’s set a franchise record for runs scored through the first four innings.
Murphy homered again in the fifth, and Semien added an RBI double.
“They executed pretty flawlessly, and they crushed the ball later in the game,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said.
All nine Oakland starters had at least two hits, and six players finished with three each. Olson and Murphy had three hits and four RBIs apiece, and Davis and Semien drove in three runs each.
Olson has a career-high 31 homers this season, joining Mark McGwire (eight times) and Jason Giambi (twice) as the only Oakland third basemen to top 30.
The Astros got two homers each from George Springer and Martin Maldonado to give them a franchise-record 252 this season as their five-game winning streak ended.
Houston became the first team in the majors to score 20 or more runs in a game and allow 20 or more runs in a different game in a three-game span since Aug. 6-7, 1894, when the Brooklyn Bridegrooms did it, according to Stats LLC.
The Astros are the third MLB team to have three straight games decided by 14 or more runs and the first since the 1800s, when in 1876, the Chicago White Stockings had a streak of four such games and the Cleveland Spiders had three in a row in 1893.
Tanner Roark (10-8) yielded eight hits and five runs in 5 2/3 innings for his third straight win.
After Miley (13-5) had allowed five runs without getting an out in his last start against Seattle, Hinch was asked before the game what he’d like to see from his left-hander this time.
“I want him to get an out,” Hinch joked.
Hinch certainly wasn’t laughing when one out was all Miley managed before he was pulled with the Athletics leading 6-0. Miley allowed seven singles and walked one before he was replaced by Cy Sneed. He was charged with seven earned runs, which tied a season worst. The eight hits Oakland piled up in the first inning tied a season high.
“A lot of cutters in and you can either beat it on the ground or you can try to stay inside it and hit it the other way,” Melvin said of his team’s approach against Miley. “Just not trying to do too much, and the hole’s open at second and just trying to pass the baton on to the next guy.”
Miley took his first loss since June 17. In his previous tough start, Houston rallied to win in 13 innings.
He was at a loss as to why things have gone so awry after he pitched so well all season.
“I’d be lying if I said I’m not thinking, ‘What the hell is going on,’” Miley said. “[But] it’s just baseball, it’s a humbling game, I’ve just got to get back to work and try to get after it.”
Astros: SS Carlos Correa (sore lower back) is progressing, and if his next two days of rehabilitation go well, he will join Triple-A Round Rock for a rehabilitation game on Friday.
MARKING HIS SPOT
A day after Yordan Alvarez became the first Astro to hit a home run to the third deck at Minute Maid Park, the Astros marked where it landed by painting the seat in the first row of Section 337 orange.
It was the second of two homers he hit on Monday night to pass Carlos Correa for most home runs by a rookie in franchise history with 24.
ODDS AND ENDS
Davis hit his 20th homer on Tuesday to become the first Athletic with four straight 20-homer seasons since Eric Chavez had seven in a row from 2000-06. … Semien scored two runs to give him 107 this season, which are the most since Miguel Tejada scored 108 in 2002. … It was the third multihomer game of Maldonado’s career and his first since 2017.
Oakland LHP Brett Anderson (11-9, 4.19 ERA) will pitch Wednesday against Houston’s Jose Urquidy (1-1, 5.33). Anderson allowed eight hits and five runs in five innings of a 10-6 win over the Angels in his last start but did not factor in the decision.