• Brian L. Barefield

Astros pitcher Zack Greinke Speaks Loudly In The 8-1 Victory Over The A’s

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke is not a many of many words. During press conferences he wants to answer questions as quickly as possible by getting directly to the point. On Wednesday night he showed the Oakland A’s that he takes that same approach on the mound.

Greinke (4-1) who started his 10th game of the season, pitched eight innings only allowing one run while striking out a season-high eight batters and did not walk any batter he faced as the Astros moved within a half of a game of the A’s for first place in the A.L. West division with an 8-1 victory over Oakland.

“He threw the ball great,” said Astros manager Dusty Baker. “He gave us everything that we wanted and needed. He saved our bullpen so we could be strong going into tomorrow.”

It was the second outing of seven or more innings for Greinke who had three previous outings where he did not last over four innings giving up a combined 11 runs during those games.

Greinke was in total control as he did not allow a run to score after the second inning and ended the game by retiring 17 out of 18 batters he faced before being relieved in the ninth inning. He attributed his performance to throwing a little bit harder during this start than he had in the previous games.

“I just tried to make good pitches and tried to throw a little bit harder, hoping that might help out some,” Greinke said after the game. “I definitely didn’t expect to have as good an outing as I did going into it.”

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

After dropping a game, the night before to the A’s, the Astros came out literally swinging to begin the game as leadoff hitter Jose Altuve sent a Frankie Montas pitch over the left field wall to give the Astros the lead and they never relinquished it. Altuve has been very productive at the top spot for Houston this season and is currently on a league leading 13-game hitting streak.

Houston was also helped by the bat of first baseman Yuli Gurriel as he finished the night with four runs batted in when he hit two-run doubles in consecutive innings to help lead the Astros to victory. Gurriel has been a very steady and patience hitter this season and it is showing every time he comes to the plate. He has hit safely in 12 out of the 16 games played in May with 20 RBI to bring his total to 36 on the season which places him two behind the league leader Trey Mancini (38) who plays for the Baltimore Orioles.

“I try to keep my rhythm as best as I can,” said Gurriel when asked about how focused he is at the plate this season. “I just try to be as consistent as I can to have more opportunities.”

Manager Dusty Baker echoed those sentiments when asked about his superstar first baseman.

“Yuli was awesome,” Baker said. “He’s been awesome all year long.”

Houston will try and take full control of the division as they play the third and final game on Thursday in Oakland before they head to Arlington to face the Texas Rangers in a weekend series.

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