OAKLAND -- The roaring road show that is the Astros ran roughshod over the A's, with ace Justin Verlander throwing seven innings to complete a three-game sweep at the Coliseum.Verlander (9-2) won his fifth consecutive decision as Houston's offense continued its relentless assault of Oakland pitching and bashed out 13
OAKLAND -- The roaring road show that is the Astros ran roughshod over the A's, with ace Justin Verlander throwing seven innings to complete a three-game sweep at the Coliseum.
Verlander (9-2) won his fifth consecutive decision as Houston's offense continued its relentless assault of Oakland pitching and bashed out 13 hits for a 7-3 victory in Thursday's series finale. The Astros have won eight in a row, improving to a Major League-best 26-11 on the road.
"Our success lately on the road is getting talked about, but we don't show up to a ballpark anywhere in the league we don't feel good about," Astros manager AJ Hinch said.
The Astros extended their winning streak over the A's to eight games and improved to 16-4 in their last 20 contests at Oakland Coliseum. Houston outscored Oakland, 26-11, for its second sweep of the A's this season.
"Justin did a really good job today, and it seems like every single guy is going out there and trying to do something for the team," said Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who went 2-for-4 to increase his road batting average to .400. "I love the way we've been playing."
During their eight-game winning streak, the Astros have averaged 7.1 runs, knocked 15 homers and hit .322 as a team, including .371 with runners in scoring position.
"We can get after you and we stay after you," Hinch said. "Everybody did something positive today in the lineup, and when we have that going, we're a good offense."
Verlander improved to 7-1 with a 1.34 ERA on the road this year after allowing three runs and five hits while striking out seven batters. Khris Davis hit a solo homer in the second and Matt Olson clubbed a two-run shot in the seventh against Verlander, who had allowed five earned runs in his previous 46 2/3 road innings this year.
"These guys have a really good lineup," Verlander said. "They make you work and they don't chase a lot. I feel like I navigated the lineup pretty well. Really, one not-well-executed pitch I would like back [to Davis] and another pitch selection I would like back [to Olson]. They both really hurt me, but overall a good outing."
Astros hitters rocked A's starter Frankie Montas (3-1) for seven runs (five earned) and 11 hits, including a two-run homer by catcher Brian McCann that put Houston ahead, 5-1, in the fourth, over 5 1/3 innings. Carlos Correa, Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez and Tony Kemp also had two hits.
"There's some guys that are starting to feel better [at the plate] and they're getting some results," Hinch said. "Obviously, [Evan] Gattis has carried us most of the week and Jose carries us almost every day. Marwin is starting to swing the bat pretty well. Tony Kemp at the bottom of the lineup has turned the lineup over very effectively. It's been nice to see contributions throughout the order."
Astros starters allowed nine earned runs and 16 hits in 20 innings in the series, while A's starters surrendered 19 earned runs and 27 hits in 11 1/3 frames.
"For me, the psychology of a starting pitcher goes a long way," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Granted, they have a great lineup, they do things across the board well. But their starting pitchers get your attention, and when they score runs early in the game, you tend to press a little bit and think you have to do too much right away. It does start with their starting pitchers, no doubt about it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
McCann was in a 2-for-34 slump before hitting a 392-foot home run to right field in the fourth to score Gonzalez, who had walked. The homer was the first for McCann since May 20 and his first since a disabled list stint with a sore right knee. It also marked his 268th career homer.
The only Astros starter not to record a hit was third baseman Alex Bregman, who walked in the fourth to extend his on-base streak to 25 games -- the second-longest current streak in the Majors.
HE SAID IT
"We have a deep offense. We've said that. We're not going to be perfect all the time, so we can't panic when we're not, but when we are good like this and putting up runs, we're pretty tough to beat." -- Hinch
Charlie Morton (7-1, 2.82 ERA) gets the start for the Astros in Friday's 7:15 p.m. CT series opener against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Morton is coming off an outing in which he walked six batters and hit four batters in 3 2/3 innings in a game the Astros won Saturday at Texas. Jakob Junis (5-6, 4.05 ERA) starts for the Royals.
Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.