OAKLAND -- The streak-of-lightning speed of rookie outfielder Myles Straw paid huge dividends for the Astros on Sunday.
Straw, making his second start since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday, led the Astros to a 6-4 victory over the A’s by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and three stolen bases. Straw scored the game-winner from second base on a Michael Brantley single in the 11th inning to allow Houston to sweep the three-game series.
“I’m doing everything I can and let those guys behind me take care of the rest,” Straw said. “Getting on base is my job and create havoc on the bases.”
The 24-year-old speedster, who made his big league debut last year, is the fifth player in Astros history to have at least three runs, three hits and three steals in a game. Straw has the green light to steal any time he’s on base.
“He had a very impactful game, obviously,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. “The pressure that he could put on the opponent you could feel every time he was coming up to bat or every time he got on base. And to see him fly around the bases and scoring on singles was huge. … Just exactly the reason why we like him. He can help a winning team.”
With core players George Springer, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa on the injured list and their top prospect, outfielder Yordan Alvarez, likely on his way from Triple-A this month, the Astros will be reshaping their roster. Straw proved Sunday how much of a weapon his speed can be and how it will be hard for Houston not to keep him active the rest of the season.
“He’s going to make his case, like all these guys are trying to make an impression,” Hinch said. “The last thing that we’re really thinking about right now is how the roster gets put back together. When those guys come back, it will feel really good.”
Straw said he’s not thinking about how he might fit into the roster when the stars return.
“It’s a fun atmosphere here,” Straw said. “You don’t think about that stuff. You want everyone to get healthy here, and whatever happens, happens.”
Springer, Altuve and Correa have combined for 37 homers this year, but the Astros trotted out a lineup Sunday that had speed to burn, with Derek Fisher in the leadoff spot, Tony Kemp in the No. 8 hole and Straw hitting ninth.
"When you can lose Altuve, Springer and Correa and somehow put a guy out there that’s the fastest guy in the big leagues, it’s just like, ‘Come on!’” Oakland starting pitcher Chris Bassitt said. “Their M.O. is putting pressure on you, and they’re probably the best in the big leagues at doing that. It’s 24/7 from the first pitch, nonstop.”
Straw beat out an infield single in the third inning; he singled and scored from second base on an infield hit and subsequent throwing error by shortstop Marcus Semien in the fifth; he walked, stole second and scored on a Fisher single in the seventh; and he drew a leadoff walk in the 12th, stole second and scored on Brantley’s hit to break a 4-4 tie for the game-winning run.
“I think our team switched from a team who hits the ball out of the ballpark to a team that runs, goes first to third, steals bags overnight,” Houston third baseman Alex Bregman said. “The speed [Straw] and Fish and [Jake] Marisnick and Kemp and all those guys bring to the table is game-changing.”