HOUSTON (AP) — Collin McHugh struck out 11, and Jed Lowrie hit one of the Houston Astros’ three homers in a 6-1 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Luis Valbuena and Evan Gattis also homered for the Astros, who matched their season high in scoring.
Houston’s bats are finally starting to show signs of life after being held to two runs or less in six of their first eight games.
The A’s have been outscored 32-14 in their five losses, compared to a 42-1 margin in their five wins.
McHugh (2-0) allowed six hits and one run in 5 2/3 innings. McHugh is the only Astros starter to earn a win since Dallas Keuchel’s opening-day victory.
McHugh was relieved by Tony Sipp with two outs in the sixth after Ike Davis doubled.
Oakland starter Drew Pomeranz (1-1) followed his masterful two-hit, seven-inning performance against Seattle by allowing four runs and six hits in five innings.
The Astros hit Pomeranz hard early, with Jose Altuve leading off with a 400-foot double to left-center and Lowrie later following with a two-run homer off the train tracks above the left-field fence.
Oakland picked up a run in the second inning when Marcus Semien beat out a close play for an infield single with the bases loaded. Semien’s hit was the fourth Oakland single in the inning, scoring Billy Butler.
Lowrie had an RBI double in the third inning, and Altuve added a run-scoring single in the fifth to make it 4-1.
Facing the team he spent the past two seasons with, Lowrie was hit by a pitch on Tuesday and joked with players and coaches before Wednesday’s game about potential retaliation.
Valbuena gave Houston a 5-1 lead with a homer into the first row of the Crawford Boxes in left field.
Gattis’ 421-foot homer to deep left-center in the eighth inning was his first as an Astro and was just his third hit in 33 at-bats so far this season. The homer boosted his average to .094.
Butler extended his hitting streak to an American League-leading 10 games. Butler became the first player in club history to record a hit in his first 10 games as an Athletic. On Friday, Butler returns to Kansas City, where he spent the first eight years of his career.
Athletics: IF-OF Ben Zobrist was held from the starting lineup Wednesday with a bruised right heel. Oakland manager Bob Melvin said Zobrist felt lingering soreness from a defensive play earlier in the week. Melvin said Zobrist was available to play and expected him to return to the starting lineup on Friday in Kansas City. ... LHP closer Sean Doolittle is making progress in his rehab throwing program, Melvin said. Doolittle played long toss from 105 to 120 feet on Tuesday with no pain. Doolittle (slight rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder) is expected to miss the first month of the season.
Astros: Houston reliever Josh Fields (groin) made his third rehab appearance on Tuesday night for Triple-A Fresno, tossing one scoreless inning with one strikeout. Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Fields will throw at least one more game on his rehab assignment before returning to the Astros.