OAKLAND, Calif. — Houston ace Justin Verlander made two mistakes, 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.
"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, 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, 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.