Kyle Tucker smacked his third career grand slam as part of a six-run fifth inning and the Houston Astros held on for a 7-5 victory over the visiting Oakland Athletics on Friday.
Seven consecutive batters reached for Houston after Athletics starter Adam Oller retired the first two hitters to open the fifth. Jose Altuve started the uprising with a double to left field, and he scored when Yuli Gurriel chased Oller with a single to center that cut Oakland’s lead to 2-1.
Athletics reliever Sam Moll failed to retire any of the four batters he faced, allowing a single to Yordan Alvarez before walking Alex Bregman to bring Tucker to the plate. Tucker followed by depositing his 21st home run into the right field seats, his second grand slam of the season, lifting Houston to a 5-1 lead.
After Aledmys Diaz singled, Austin Pruitt replaced Moll and yielded Jeremy Pena’s RBI double off the scoreboard in left.
Moll (2-1) allowed four runs on three hits and one walk on 14 pitches.
Astros starter Luis Garcia (9-8) responded to the rally by quickly retiring the Athletics in order in the top of the sixth. However, Garcia returned for the seventh with 92 pitches on his ledger and immediately found trouble.
Vimael Machin and Jonah Bride laced a single and double in succession to chase Garcia, and pinch hitter Skye Bolt delivered a two-run double off Will Smith that sliced the Houston lead to 6-4.
Three batters later, Ramon Laureano dumped the first pitch from Ryne Stanek into center, scoring Bolt and narrowing the margin to one run.
The Athletics loaded the bases in the eighth before Stanek ran the count full to Bolt and then induced an inning-ending grounder.
Pena (three hits) scored a critical insurance run in the eighth with a single and a steal of second base before advancing on a flyball out from Christian Vazquez and coming home on Mauricio Dubon’s sacrifice fly.
Garcia snapped a three-start losing skid, allowing four runs on eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts in six-plus innings. The Astros ended a four-game skid in the season series against Oakland.
Machin, Bride and Tony Kemp each had two hits for the A’s, who took their sixth loss in a row. The Astros have won three of their past four.