HOUSTON (AP) — The Oakland Athletics certainly weren’t happy leaving Houston after a three-game sweep by the Astros.
Sonny Gray’s performance in his return from the disabled list on Sunday, however, gave them something to feel good about.
Evan Gattis homered for the third straight game, Carlos Gomez connected for the first time this season and Carlos Correa delivered a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning after Gray left the game to help the Astros beat the Athletics 5-2.
Gray yielded five hits and one run in five innings. He had much better results than he did in the four starts before he was injured when he went 0-3 and allowed at least five runs in each of those outings.
Manager Bob Melvin said it was the best Gray has pitched since his first start this year.
“Velocity was great. Late movement. Arm had a lot of life to it. Good breaking ball,” he said. “Really the only bad pitch me made was the breaking ball to Gomez.”
Gray, who was scheduled to make a rehabilitation start for Single-A Stockton on Saturday before Rich Hill was scratched, has been on the DL since May 20 with a strained right trapezius.
“I went back to what I have done the majority of my career, which is attacking the zone with my heater, and my curveball is something I was working on my last three bullpens, and it was a lot better today,” Gray said.
Lance McCullers (3-1) allowed eight hits and two runs while striking out nine in seven innings to win his third straight decision.
Will Harris threw a perfect ninth for his first save, a day after closer Luke Gregerson blew his second straight save chance.
It was 2-all in the seventh when George Springer walked and moved up on an errant pickoff throw by Ryan Dull (1-1). Correa, who drove in the game-winning run in the 12th Saturday, grounded a double to left with two outs.
Houston added a pair of runs in the eighth inning, with one coming when Jake Marisnick scored and Colby Rasmus reached on an a rather embarrassing error by pitcher Marc Rzepczynski.
The reliever fielded a grounder right in front of the plate by Rasmus before dropping the ball, picking it up and then tumbling to the ground as he tried to decide where to throw it.
“It’s spinning a little bit,” Melvin said. “He knows he’s going to have to field it and get it over there in a hurry based on the speed that was hit to him. Some guys, if you bobble it, you aren’t going to be able to make the play.”
The Athletics scored two runs in the first on a single by Yonder Alonso, but couldn’t come up with hits in key situations after that and went 3 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Oakland was up 2-0 when Gomez, who also doubled, sent his two-strike solo shot to the seats in left field in the fifth. It was his first regular-season homer since last Sept. 11.
Gomez, who has been mired in a season-long slump, is hitting just .191 this season and was 0 for 7 before the homer.
Gattis tied it when he connected in the sixth. He has four homers and nine RBIs in his last five games.
Athletics: Hill, who missed Saturday’s start with a groin strain, will also miss his next start. He is expected to return sometime in the series against Cincinnati, which starts Friday, but Melvin isn’t sure which game it will be.
Athletics: The A’s are off on Monday before Sean Manaea (2-3, 6.16 ERA) starts in the opener of a series against Milwaukee on Tuesday. Manaea allowed five hits and one run in six innings of a 5-1 win over Minnesota in his last start.
Astros: Mike Fiers (3-3, 4.84) will pitch the opener of a four-game series at Texas on Monday. Fiers has lost two straight decisions after winning his previous three. He will try to get Houston its first win over the Rangers this season after Texas won the first six games.