OAKLAND -- He's the bearded wonder who looks as if he might be more comfortable chopping wood than playing baseball. It wasn't an axe that Evan Gattis wielded on Tuesday night, but he was still able to cut down the A's with a couple of mighty swings.Gattis continued his assault
OAKLAND -- He's the bearded wonder who looks as if he might be more comfortable chopping wood than playing baseball. It wasn't an axe that Evan Gattis wielded on Tuesday night, but he was still able to cut down the A's with a couple of mighty swings.
Gattis continued his assault on American League pitching, driving in a career-high five runs on a three-run homer and a two-run double to lead the Astros to their season-high-tying sixth win in a row, 6-3, over the A's at the Coliseum.
"It's nice to watch him go from the beginning of the season and be so frustrated and get into June and he's locked in," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.
Gattis' 11th homer of the season, which came off A's starter Daniel Mengden, put the Astros ahead, 4-1, in the second inning, a frame that began when Carlos Correa hit a tape-measure homer to left field on his first swing since leaving Wednesday's game with an injury.
"He's doing special things out there at the plate," Correa said of Gattis. "He's been consistent. He's waiting for good pitches to hit and he's not missing them. It's very impressive to watch the way he's been swinging lately."
• Correa homers in first AB after missing 4 games
Gattis is hitting .287 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in his last 25 games to erase a woeful start to the season. He has 22 RBIs in his last 16 games, hitting .290 in that span.
"It's been good for the last month," Gattis said. "It's easy to lose sight of that when you have a couple of games where you go 1-for-8 or 9 or something like that. It's good to kind of sustain it a little bit."
Astros starter Lance McCullers (8-3) worked seven innings, allowing two runs and five hits to record his career-high eighth win of the season. He allowed a run to score on a wild pitch in the first inning and another on a sacrifice fly in the second.
"I gave up a couple of runs early, but I battled and caught my stride and gave my team a good chance to win," he said.
Mengden (6-6) sent the Astros down in order in the first before Correa, who had missed the previous four games with a sore right side, tied the game at 1 leading off the second. After Yuli Gurriel doubled and Josh Reddick walked, Gattis clubbed a three-run homer to left.
"It seems like they had to work harder for their run, and then Correa gets up and first pitch he sees after being off for however long, turns on a heater and keeps it fair for a long homer," Gattis said. "It's always good. It's like we let them know we're here, you know?"
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The A's had the go-ahead run at the plate with two out in the eighth inning after Mark Canha's bases-loaded single off Collin McHugh cut the Houston lead to 6-3. Brad Peacock came in from the bullpen and struck out Stephen Piscotty swinging to strand the bases loaded. Ken Giles improved to 11-for-11 in save chances in the ninth inning.
Correa made his first error of the season in the eighth inning when he couldn't handle a ground ball by Khris Davis. He went 70 games without an error, which is a franchise record for a shortstop.
"It's not how I imagined my first error to be, ranging to the side and full extension," he said. "I didn't image a ground ball would be my first error. The scorer's decision was an error, and I own it. I know I make that play nine out of 10. It's a tough error right there."
HE SAID IT
"It can build on Lance, and Lance is so emotional and pitches with his emotions on his sleeve. It's nice to see him collect himself and get out of the [first] inning." -- Hinch
Gerrit Cole, who leads the AL in strikeouts, will make his 14th start of the season when the Astros go for their season-high seventh win in a row against the A's at 9:05 p.m. CT Wednesday at Oakland Coliseum. Cole (7-1, 2.16 ERA) has 12 quality starts in 13 outings this year. Oakland will start right-hander Paul Blackburn (1-0, 1.50 ERA).
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.