HOUSTON -- Don't forget about Ryon Healy.Maybe it's easy to do that right now during the honeymoon stage of a youth movement that's brought about the arrival of prospects Franklin Barreto, Matt Chapman, Bruce Maxwell, Matt Olson and Jaycob Brugman in recent weeks.But Healy, who beat them all to The
HOUSTON -- Don't forget about Ryon Healy.
Maybe it's easy to do that right now during the honeymoon stage of a youth movement that's brought about the arrival of prospects Franklin Barreto, Matt Chapman, Bruce Maxwell, Matt Olson and Jaycob Brugman in recent weeks.
But Healy, who beat them all to The Show last year, is a central figure of this crusade. The corner infielder offered a not-so-silent reminder on Tuesday, belting his first career grand slam to help the A's beat the American League West-leading Astros, 6-4, in the opener of the three-game series.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
The two-out, go-ahead blast off Houston right-hander James Hoyt in the sixth inning capped an eight-pitch at-bat, and it traveled 378 feet to the opposite field.
Healy's 18th home run of the season was a doozy that padded his RBI total to 49 -- one shy of Khris Davis' team-leading mark.
"I knew he was going to slider the heck out of me," Healy said. "I was really just trying to get a pitch up in my zone. Fortunately, it took, what, eight pitches? I finally got one and didn't miss it."
Hoyt wasn't Healy's only victim.
"He about broke my hand," A's manager Bob Melvin said, smiling. "Seems like every magnitude homer for him, he gets a harder hand slap. He was fired up about it, and he's a passionate guy. I love it. He's gotten some big hits for us."
Said Healy: "I tried to keep my composure on the field, but once I got in the dugout, just a lot of emotion that needed to come out. He's got a great grip, though, he'll be all right."
Healy, nearing the one-year anniversary of his Major League promotion after beginning the 2016 season at Double-A, continues to prove his worth as a staple in the middle of Oakland's youthful lineup for years to come.
The 25-year-old seemingly hasn't stopped hitting since arriving on the scene last July, counting off 30 home runs in 148 games -- including nine this month, the most by an A's player in June since Mark McGwire hit 10 in 1997.
All the while, he's been shuffled across the diamond and acclimating to stints in the designated hitter role, too.
He'll be the first to say there's plenty room for improvement, though.
"Oh, man, I feel terrible right now," he said. "Have you guys seen my at-bats the last week? They are not pretty. I talked to my father today on the phone, he had some words for me, so I had to work on that in the cage. Constant battle. Every week is a new adventure, and really, every day is a new adventure, so [I'm] just trying to work as hard as I can and come prepared every single day."
Healy, who is working to find consistency with his lower half, hoping "the rest of it will follow," ended the day with a .273 average -- and likely another message from his dad.
"I can guarantee you I already know what he's going to say," he said. "'Great swing, Bubba. That was awesome, but let's work on the other 3-2.' That's what I'm going to get. Can't wait."
Jane Lee has covered the A's for MLB.com since 2010.