OAKLAND -- The A's topped the Astros, 7-4, on Monday at the Coliseum, and a major reason for their success stemmed from their approach at the end of innings.Oakland scored all seven of its runs with two outs, including a five-run fourth inning when they walked five times and sent
OAKLAND -- The A's topped the Astros, 7-4, on Monday at the Coliseum, and a major reason for their success stemmed from their approach at the end of innings.
Oakland scored all seven of its runs with two outs, including a five-run fourth inning when they walked five times and sent nine batters to the plate after Khris Davis struck out for the second out in the inning.
Oakland's big inning came in part because of control lapses from Astros starter Mike Fiers and reliever Michael Feliz, who walked three batters in one-third of an inning. But the A's bats certainly contributed to the surge, with Stephen Vogt lacing a two-out double, Yonder Alonso adding a two-run single and rookie Ryon Healy doubling to drive him in.
"Now that's tough to do," manager Bob Melvin said. "It was good to see that we were patient. In a situation with some guys on base, you want to swing it."
Davis added his 23rd home run of the season in the seventh inning -- a powerful opposite-field blast traveling 404 feet, per Statcast™, which also came with two outs.
"I just touch the ball and it goes," Davis said. "All I have to do is get ready on time and touch it."
The A's have won three of four since the All-Star break, showcasing considerable depth in the lineup. Nobody's embodied the hot streak, or the two-out prowess, more than Alonso over the past two days. He sliced a game-tying, two-run double in the sixth inning Sunday against the Blue Jays and followed it Monday with three more RBIs, all with two outs.
"He's swinging great," Melvin said. "When you see him using the whole field, driving the ball to left-center field, that means he's tracking the ball really well."
Alonso is hitting .322 over his last 38 games, a stark contrast to his .210 mark through his first 52. He's also hit three homers over his last 16 games, a significant increase after hitting one homer through 74 games and arriving in Oakland this season without a power pedigree.
He even brought a new celebration to the field Monday, wiggling his hips and pointing to the dugout upon reaching base, something starter Kendall Graveman enjoyed.
"Yonder found that when we were on a plane ride and we just came up with it," Graveman said. "That's definitely something we're having a lot of fun with. We're playing looser, and you see guys start to perform when that happens."
The sinkerballer certainly did his part, allowing three runs (two earned) and finishing seven innings in a game where Oakland's bullpen was maxed out. He acknowledged there's a considerable boost when the offense, like it did Monday, can string together two-out rallies.
"You could go one to nine no matter who's in there, and I think a lot of guys are starting to feel comfortable at the plate," Graveman said. "[The] starters are just trying to keep them in ballgames and we know they're going to put up runs right now."
Mark Chiarelli is a reporter for MLB.com based in the Bay Area.