HOUSTON -- One of their most momentous swings of the season -- and certainly the biggest of Tyler White's career -- meant a positive two-game swing in the American League West standings for the Astros, capping a frustrating day at the plate with a wild celebration on top of it.
White, who has surged on offense the past month, lofted an 0-2 pitch from Jeurys Familia and sent it into the first rows of the Crawford Boxes for his first career walk-off homer in the ninth inning at Minute Maid Park. The Astros' 5-4 win over the A's on Wednesday afternoon set a record with MLB's 81st walk-off homer of the season.
"Just looking to put something in play, really," said White, whose 10 homers and 25 RBIs this season have all come in his past 27 games. "That guy is really good, and he's been doing it for a long time and you're looking for something to hit, for him to make a mistake, and that's what happened. I just put a good swing on it."
The Astros won for the seventh time in eight games to extend their lead in the AL West over the A's to 2 1/2 games in the final regular-season meeting between the division frontrunners. The Astros went 12-7 against the A's this year.
"They're having a terrific season and are a really good team, so you want to take care of business -- certainly on your home field, too, to be able to defend the home series, especially after they beat us two of three [in Oakland earlier this month]," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "We have a lot of games to play and a lot of games to win. This is a big one, obviously, to send them out of town a little beat up."
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The Astros had numerous chances to break the game open, drawing a season-high 10 walks and getting eight hits, including seven singles. They stranded the bases loaded in the fourth and seventh innings on a day Jose Altuve struck out a career-high four times.
"We both lived on the edge of the disaster with walks and hit-by-pitches," Hinch said. "When we have an opportunity, when we're getting some free bases, we felt we could capitalize, and we were really good at minimizing their run-scoring innings. So much happened in that game."
Alex Bregman paced the Astros on offense by going 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored, an RBI and two walks. George Springer and White both went 2-for-4.
"We definitely were on base a lot today, had a lot of opportunities," Bregman said. "When you continue to put yourself in situations like that, you're going to come through. We did a good job of getting on base. It's a good sign to see an offense getting on base, getting innings started, just knowing that in the future we'll finish them off and we'll come through. Whitey came through with a huge swing."
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings and left the game with a 4-3 lead, only to watch reliever Brad Peacock walk three batters in a row in the seventh and then hit Stephen Piscotty with a pitch to tie the game. A's starter Trevor Cahill walked six batters in 3 1/3 innings.
White's walk-off homer was the Astros' 19th homer against the A's bullpen this season. According to STATS, that's the third-most against any opposing bullpen, trailing the 2017 Yankees (vs. Orioles) and 1958 Giants (vs. Dodgers).
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YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
White's homer was hit at 96 mph off the bat with a 44-degree launch angle, which is a hit probability of one percent, according to Statcast™.
HE SAID IT
"I didn't really know what to do. I knew I had to touch home plate. I threw my helmet up in the air, and I think it might have landed in the stands. I don't know. What a great moment." -- White
The Astros send right-hander Justin Verlander (13-8, 2.72 ERA) to the mound to open a four-game series against the Angels at Minute Maid Park at 7:10 p.m. CT on Thursday. Verlander's 229 strikeouts are his most since 2016, and they rank second in the American League behind teammate Gerrit Cole (234). He'll duel Los Angeles' Andrew Heaney (7-8, 4.25 ERA).