• Brian L. Barefield

Astros Welcomed Home By Sell-Out Crowd In Victory Over The Oakland A’s

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

The Houston Astros welcomed the sellout crowd of 21,765 (50 percent maximum for the month of April at Minute Maid Park) back in grand fashion in their home opener against the Oakland A’s on Thursday night with a 6-2 victory to improve to 6-1 on the season and 5-0 against Oakland this season. It was the first game the Astros have played in front of their home crowd since Game 7 of the 2019 World Series.

“It was great seeing all the orange jersey’s out there,” Manager Dusty Baker said about the crowd. “It made a big difference, and I could see the positive energy it had on our team.”

That energy that Baker spoke of resonated early for shortstop Carlos Correa who followed up his last at bat on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels that resulted in a two-run homer to win the game, with a first at bat 350-foot solo shot to right field in the bottom of the second inning to put Houston up 1-0 over Oakland.

It was the first time he has hit back-to-back home runs since August of 2019. He would help the Astros increase the lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning with a double to left field to drive home Yordan Alvarez who had also doubled.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

Correa, 26, has been one of the hottest hitters in the league to start the season. After going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts in the second game of the season against the A’s, the first overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft has had eight hits in 20 at-bats with three total strikeouts in the last five games.

Houston added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Alvarez sent a massive shot to the upper deck in right field and would tack on two more runs when Myles Straw lined a single to the outfield to bring home Correa and Kyle Tucker. Former A.L. MVP Jose Altuve would give the fans something to cheer for once again in the very next inning when he hit a 426-foot solo home run to left field, putting the Astros up 6-0.

“I had a lot of energy through the game, because the fans were rooting for us since the first inning,” said Altuve. “That’s enough to motivate you and encourages you to go out there and keep swinging the bat.”

The Astros hitters have become more patient at the plate and it is evident by the amount of home runs flying off their bats. Dating back to the 2020 American League Division Series, Houston has hit a combined 36 homers in 18 games. Their Major League leading 15 is also a franchise record in seven games to begin a season.

“This team can hit, and they worked hard in Spring Training,” said Baker. “I’ve never seen guys hit so much. They hit in the morning before practice, they hit during practice, they hit after practice.”

Starting pitcher Cristian Javier (1-0) earned his first victory of the season after pitching five scoreless innings only allowing three hits while striking out seven A’s batters.

“It was huge having the fans in the stands tonight,” Javier said.

The Astros and A’s will continue their series on Friday at Minute Maid Park with the first pitch at 7:10 p.m. CST.

Photo Credit/Houston Astros

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