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Opening act, Gattis carry Astros past A's

June 3, 2016

HOUSTON -- Evan Gattis went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, including a two-run home run to left field in the fourth inning, and the Astros jumped on A's starter Jesse Hahn for seven first-inning runs and cruised to a 12-2 win on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.Astros starter Doug Fister

HOUSTON -- Evan Gattis went 4-for-5 with four RBIs, including a two-run home run to left field in the fourth inning, and the Astros jumped on A's starter Jesse Hahn for seven first-inning runs and cruised to a 12-2 win on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
Astros starter Doug Fister (5-3) fired six scoreless innings while allowing four hits to send Houston to its ninth win in the past 11 games. The A's, who had their five-game winning streak snapped, trailed 12-0 before getting on the board with a Marcus Semien home run in the seventh.
"For us, we have this in us," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We have these quality at-bats in us. We have the potent power throughout the order. This doesn't shock me. We've done this a number of times, but sometimes it feels like we're not doing it consistently enough. We've got it in us."
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Every Astros starter, with the exception of Luis Valbuena (two walks in his first two plate appearances) had a hit by the fourth inning. George Springer went 2-for-2 in the first inning, and Tony Kemp added a two-run triple in the first and scored on an RBI single by Jake Marisnick (2-for-5). Carlos Correa and Colby Rasmus also had two hits each.
"I put that one on me," Hahn said. "That's a terrible job on my part. I felt really good coming into the game. Warmup was great. I thought that was going to be a really great night. I just got out there, and everything kind of felt out of whack."

Astros blast off in first: The Astros, who had been outscored 43-28 in first innings this year prior to Friday, exploded for their biggest first inning since scoring eight runs against Seattle on June 12, 2015. They sent 12 batters to the plate en route to a 7-0 lead. Their 16 hits were their most in a game this season.
"That was probably our best inning," Hinch said. "We had 10 out of 12 quality plate appearances where we put excellent at-bats up against them. Not very often you have an inning where Correa makes two outs. That was a really, really impressive inning of continuing to do something positive to get the next guy up to bat and produced seven runs. That's obviously a good way to start." More >

Two-out trouble: Hahn nearly escaped the first inning with three runs allowed, but Kemp sent a ball to right field that bounced off of Chris Coghlan's glove for a two-run triple, opening the floodgates. Ensuing run-scoring singles from Marisnick and Springer marked the end for Hahn, who faced 10 batters while recording just two outs in the worst start of his career.
"It hit the top of my glove. That's a ball I should've caught," Coghlan said. "We had been playing him the other way, so I did have a long way to run, but it's still a ball I caught before. I felt bad, because that's three outs. Three runs is a lot different than seven."

Fister's fine: The Astros have won seven consecutive games started by Fister, who's emerged as their most reliable starting pitcher. He has eight quality starts in his 11 outings this year, and he's given up three runs or fewer in all but one start. The Astros are 8-3 in games he starts.
"My main goal is to be consistent day to day," Fister said. "Our biggest thing is the fact we're coming back. We had a great month, and now June's here and we're continuing to put a lot of heart and effort into each day."

Levity from Ladendorf: The A's utilized a position player on the mound for the second time this season when infielder/outfielder Tyler Ladendorf entered to pitch the eighth inning. Ladendorf, sporting a fastball that topped out at 85 mph, offered up a leadoff single to Gattis, before inducing a shallow fly ball from Valbuena and a popup off the bat of Tyler White. After walking Kemp, Ladendorf put an end to the inning by getting another popup, this time from Marisnick. A's catcher Josh Phegley also pitched in a game this season on May 8 in Baltimore.
"Fastball, fastball and fastball," Ladendorf said, smiling. "I widened the grip a little bit for what I guess I'm calling a changeup. But just fastballs." More >

"That's the longest at-bat I've ever seen in my career " -- Hinch, on Semien's 18-pitch at-bat in the second inning.

Athletics: The A's will have right-hander Kendall Graveman on the mound for Saturday's 1:10 p.m. PT matchup against the Astros, after scratching scheduled starter Rich Hill because of ongoing groin soreness. Graveman picked up his first win since April 20 on Monday, holding the Twins to two runs in six innings. He's 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in two career starts against Houston.
Astros: Coming off a complete-game win over the D-backs on Monday in Arizona, right-hander Collin McHugh (5-4, 4.82 ERA) will start in Saturday's 3:10 p.m. CT game at Minute Maid Park. McHugh went 3-1 with a 3.83 ERA in six May outings, including three quality starts.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Jane Lee has covered the A's for since 2010.