You have never seen a home run trot like this

Veteran's eighth-inning shot is one of 7 hit by Houston, tying club mark to cap series sweep

May 29th, 2023

OAKLAND -- 's first home run trot in an Astros uniform was a long time coming -- and at the same time, unlike anything his teammates were expecting to see.

There was no shortage of power on Sunday afternoon as the Astros mashed a franchise-record-tying seven home runs in a 10-1 rout of the A's -- sealing the three-game sweep -- but Abreu's eighth-inning big fly was undeniably the main event.

That, and his ensuing dash around the basepaths.

Abreu didn't stand around and watch the ball fly once it left his bat. The Astros' first baseman sprinted around the bases at a 26.2 feet-per-second clip, not stopping once he crossed the plate.

"He wasn't trying to show up anybody," manager Dusty Baker said. "He was just happy for himself, and his team was happy for him."

There were no hard feelings as far as A's manager Mark Kotsay was concerned.

"I have the utmost respect for Abreu and his career and what he’s accomplished," Oakland's skipper said. "I’m sure it was a lot of frustration going into that timeframe, and for him, a lot of excitement, and it showed.”

The way Abreu told it, it was equal parts adrenaline and practicality.

"I think when I stepped on first base, that was when I noticed that the ball wasn't in play anymore," he said in Spanish through team interpreter Jenloy Herrera. "I think that's when I flipped the switch."

Abreu kept going all the way to the visitors' dugout, where he slid under a receiving line of his teammates. Abreu went home to home in 17.6 seconds, the second-fastest home run trot on a ball that left the yard this season.

"That was pretty awesome," Chas McCormick said. "Him sprinting around the bases, him sprinting across home plate, sliding into the dugout -- I didn't expect that."

To say that Abreu's solo shot was a long time coming would be an understatement, as it ended the longest homerless stretch of his career at 260 at-bats. Prior to Sunday, his last home run had come on Sept. 13, 2022, as a member of the White Sox.

Abreu's 50-game homerless drought to begin a season was the longest of his career by far. He didn't go deep until the 21st game of the season in 2017, the only other time in his 10-year big league tenure in which he didn't hit a home run within his first eight games.

"That was something that we were all waiting for every single time he went up to hit," Cristian Javier said in Spanish, after holding the A's to one run over five innings. "We're happy, just like he is."

When the Astros agreed to a three-year, $58.5 million deal with Abreu during the offseason, he was expected to add some pop to an already potent lineup. Abreu's tenure in Houston started on a promising note when he began the 2023 campaign on a 10-game hitting streak, but he began to scuffle soon afterward. Entering Sunday, Abreu had slugged just .225 since April 10.

One breakthrough moment won't change the course of Abreu's season on its own, but any step forward is welcome.

"The guys have always supported me since the first minute I got here," Abreu said. "They supported my ups and downs. They've been working, trying to get me to be my best self. I'm very grateful for that."

Though the marine layer was thick over the Coliseum on Sunday afternoon, Oakland pitchers could not keep the ball in the park, as each of Houston's runs scored via the long ball.

Yordan Alvarez kicked off the party with a solo homer in the first inning, then Jake Meyers blasted a go-ahead three-run shot in the fourth. McCormick snapped an 0-for-16 stretch and hit his first round-tripper since returning from the injured list in the seventh, and Jose Altuve went back-to-back for his first homer of 2023.

Jeremy Peña and Alvarez followed Abreu's eighth-inning blast by going back-to-back in the ninth. In total, the Astros racked up a Statcast-projected 2,781 feet in home runs.

After sweeping the A's, the Astros will return to Houston for a seven-game homestand, continuing the team's taxing stretch of 17 games in as many days. As much as Sunday was a shot in the arm for Abreu, it also provided a much-needed boost for the entire team.

"The smile on his face made the whole game that much better," McCormick said. "You can see the energy in our dugout, and the energy from him, and that's what it's all about."