Houston ace Justin Verlander made two mistakes Matt Bryant Jersey , both resulting in home runs. The way the Astros are swinging the bats these days, it hardly mattered.
Verlander pitched five-hit ball over seven innings and the Astros jumped out to another early lead, beating the Oakland Athletics 7-3 Thursday for their eighth straight win.
Brian McCann homered for the first time in nearly a month. Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Josh Reddick were among five players with two hits apiece as Houston completed the three-game sweep.
”It happens fast when we’re at our best,” Astros manager AJ Hinch said. ”We can get after you and then we stay after you. We’re not going to be perfect all the time . but when we are good like this and putting up runs, we’re pretty tough.”
Evan Gattis, who set a franchise record with five RBIs in each of the first two games of the series, went 1 for 5 and didn’t drive in a run.
Beyond that, it was another in a series of impressive offensive displays from the Astros.
The winning streak is their longest since they won 11 straight May 25-June 5 last season on the way to their first World Series championship. Houston also improved to 8-1 against Oakland this season.
”It’s nice to have your team hot, you just want to be the guy to keep it going,” Verlander said. ”The run support is awesome. It’s fun to be a part of keeping the rhythm and keeping the momentum on our side.”
Khris Davis and Matt Olson homered for the A’s. It was Davis’ third home run in three consecutive at-bats after going deep in his final two plate appearances Wednesday.
Both home runs came off Verlander Kemal Ishmael Jersey , who went into the day leading the majors with a 1.45 ERA.
Still, Verlander (9-2) was sharp in his first appearance against the A’s since 2016. He faced three batters over the minimum before Oakland scored twice in the seventh.
The six-time All-Star allowed three runs, struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter while earning his fifth consecutive win.
”I felt like I navigated the lineup pretty well,” Verlander said. ”Really, one not well-executed pitch I would like back and another pitch selection I would like back.”
The Astros outscored the A’s 26-11 in the series and have a 69-20 run differential in the last eight games between the two division rivals. They also got some help from Oakland third baseman Matt Chapman, who committed a pair of errors that led to a pair of unearned runs in the sixth.
Frankie Montas (3-1) gave up five earned runs and 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings. He walked four.
”That’s good team that’s swinging the bat real well right now,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. ”Looked like every ball he got in the middle of the plate they hit.”
RHP Trevor Cahill (Achilles strain) was placed by Oakland on the 10-day disabled list for the second time this season. RHPs Chris Bassitt and Carlos Ramirez were called up from Triple-A Nashville. Reliever Danny Coulombe was optioned down.
ONE STREAK ENDS, ANOTHER CONTINUES
Houston 3B Alex Bregman went hitless in four at-bats, ending his hitting streak at 10 games. But Bregman drew a walk to extend his on-base streak to 25 games, the second-longest active mark in the majors behind Shin-Soo Choo of Texas (28).
Astros: Bregman was back in the lineup after getting a rest day Wednesday.
Athletics: Chapman left the game with a bruised right hand that has been bothering him since spring training. He was expected to be taken for an MRI after the game. Cahill is nursing a strained right Achilles and is wearing a walking boot. He hasn’t responded to treatment and there is no timetable for his return. … Matt Joyce (lumbar strain) will take full batting practice Friday and begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Nashville on Monday.
Astros: RHP Charlie Morton (7-1, 2.82 ERA) attempts to become Houston’s fourth starter with eight wins or more when he pitches in Kansas City on Friday night.
Athletics: RHP Chris Bassitt (0-1 Aaron Ripkowski Jersey , 1.29), who was called up from Triple-A Nashville, will pitch against the Los Angeles Angels on Friday. Bassitt is taking Cahill’s spot in the rotation.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers sure are getting a lot of attention for a team coming off a six-win season that hasn’t even sniffed the playoffs the past four years.
That’s what a season-ending five-game winning streak and the presence of a potential franchise quarterback in Jimmy Garoppolo will do.
One group not buying into all the hype is in the San Francisco locker room.
“There’s no one (here) who thinks we arrived,” said left tackle Joe Staley, the only player left from the Niners‘ last playoff team in 2013. “We have a ton of work to do. We were a 6-10 football team. We were happy with the way we finished last year, but that’s in the past.”
San Francisco put together that sterling 5-0 finish after a dreadful start to the first season under coach Kyle Shanahan that featured nine straight losses to begin the schedule, including a record five straight by three points or fewer.
That all began to change after the team acquired Garoppolo before the trade deadline from New England. After a few weeks to learn the offense, Garoppolo stepped in and showed why the Patriots had groomed him as Tom Brady’s successor.
He completed 67.4 percent of his passes last season, averaging 8.8 yards per attempt with seven TDs, five interceptions and a 96.2 rating to improve to 7-0 in his career as a starter.
Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts last season Joe Flacco Jersey , Garoppolo ranked first in yards per attempt, fourth in completion percentage. His 308.4 yards passing per game in his five starts also would have led the league had he played a full season.
But more importantly, he changed the mindset of a whole franchise.
“Jimmy is confident in himself,” Shanahan said. “I think everyone felt that right away. That’s why guys gravitate to guys. It doesn’t matter what people say or how they act. People can tell when people believe in themselves and when they don’t. But, it shows the most on the field. When you’re having success as a quarterback, as a receiver, as anybody, that confidence is only going to grow. When people start seeing you, the more plays you can put together the higher it gets.”
Here are some other things to watch this season:
SHERMAN’S HEALTH: One of the most high-profile moves San Francisco made in free agency was signing Richard Sherman after his release in Seattle. After years of tormenting the Niners, Sherman has flipped sides in the NFC West rivalry. But how effective he will be will depend heavily on his health. His 2017 season was cut short by surgery on his Achilles tendon. Sherman hopes to overcome that at age 30. He was slowed by a hamstring problem in camp, so it’s uncertain how much speed he’s lost from his days as the league’s top cover cornerbacks.
REUBEN’S ROLE: Reuben Foster showed signs of being an elite inside linebacker as a rookie when he was on the field. The problem was he missed five full games with injuries and left several others for periods of time. Having Foster at middle linebacker is key and the Niners have tried to get him to use his hands more to limit the wear and tear on his body. But Foster already will miss the first two games because of a suspension following two offseason arrests Aaron Rodgers Jersey , and San Francisco can’t afford to be without him much more.
RUSH THE PASSER: San Francisco failed to generate much pass pressure last year, getting only 30 sacks. Elvis Dumervil was cut after leading the team with 6 ½, and no one else had more than three. Despite the lack of production, DeForest Buckner is one of the league’s top defensive linemen. He generates consistent pressure and could get more opportunities outside to get one-on-one matchups that could lead to more sacks.
DEEP THREAT: One of the most impressive 49ers last year was speedy WR Marquise Goodwin, who smashed his career highs with 56 catches for 962 yards in his first season with San Francisco. The former Olympic long jumper proved he can be more than a deep threat as he ranked in the top six in catches (29) and yards (384) in five games with Garoppolo.
“He’s continued to get better in every facet of his game,” Shanahan said. “He probably hasn’t gotten faster, he’s always been fast. But his hands have gotten better, he’s gotten more consistent. He tracks the ball well. It’s not just catching the easy ones now, he’s starting to make some tough ones.”
RUN THE ROCK: The Niners let Carlos Hyde leave in free agency and replaced him with a more versatile back in Jerick McKinnon. But McKinnon went down with a season-ending knee injury, leaving a big hole on the offense. Alfred Morris was signed midway through camp and could be the main back with little-used Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert the other options.
Adidas Clayton Keller Jersey